Publication series: Policy Pathways towards 1.5-Degree Lifestyles

The policy briefs provide a guiding hand exploring how future-fit policy pathways for Europe can be created to meet the 1.5 degree scenario in the areas of food, mobility and housing, starting with an overview of the current emissions gap and socially fair policies.

The European Green Deal sets the ambitious target of making the EU the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. This would entail a significant reduction of the European carbon footprint from the current average of 8.6 tCO2e to 0.7 tCO2e by 2050. Research has identified high potential in reducing consumption-related emissions for the three ‘hotspot’ sectors of food, housing and mobility. Scientific evidence could not be clearer in showing that deep changes are necessary to reach these targets, including a change in lifestyles and infrastructures. In this context, policies influencing and driving consumption patterns form a crucial element in Europe’s climate neutrality journey. Equity considerations must simultaneously be held at the core of this debate around reducing consumption-related emissions as so far, the bottom 50% of EU households by income have disproportionately contributed to emissions reduction. The equity dimension is key to a successful transformation.  

Enabling 1.5-Degree Lifestyles – lifestyles compatible with living within planetary boundaries and restricting global warming to 1.5°C  – present an opportunity to achieve these targets. Policymakers at the recent COP26 also highlighted the importance of keeping the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C  alive. But what does it really mean for humanity to pursue lifestyles compatible with this target? 

ZOE Institute launches a series of policy briefs on 1.5-Degree Lifestyles 

ZOE Institute introduces a series of five policy briefs on 1.5-Degree Lifestyles.

Two general publications provide background information on Equitable 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: How Socially Fair Policies Can Support the Implementation of the Green Deal and on Reducing Emissions through Equitable 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: An Essential Plank in Bridging the Emissions Gap. Together, the policy briefs present the following key ideas: 

  • The most significant determinant of an individual’s carbon footprint is their income, with the wealthiest accounting for a substantial share of total consumption-related GHG emissions. 
  • Making 1.5 – Degree lifestyles accessible to all is not only a matter of individual behavioural change, it requires structural changes and systemic approaches.
  • Policies influencing consumption patterns require an overhaul to avoid a default “lock-in” into unsustainable patterns for consumers.  

Three upcoming publications target the hotspot areas for reducing consumption-related greenhouse gas emissions: food, housing and mobility. 

The policy briefs present insights from academic research discussed and further developed in a series of Policy Labs organised by the ZOE Institute, through exchange between policy makers and other stakeholders. The policy briefs provide a guiding hand exploring how future-fit policy pathways for Europe can be created in the areas of food, mobility and housing. 


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