Knowledge for better food systems

Lifestyles for 1.5 degrees - How to reduce carbon footprints

This report from the Japanese Institute for Global Environmental Strategies shows how lifestyles would have to change in industrialised countries and some industrialising countries in order to meet climate change targets.

Lifestyle emissions are defined as those directly or indirectly caused by consumption within households. This excludes emissions caused by governments or the building of infrastructure. To meet the Paris climate target of limiting warming to 1.5°C, per capita annual lifestyle emissions will need to fall to 0.7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, compared to current footprints of 10.4 tonnes CO2 eq. in Finland, 4.2 tonnes CO2 eq. in China and 2.0 tonnes CO2 eq. in India.

The report finds that lifestyle emissions will need to be reduced by 80–93% by 2050 in industrialised countries and 23–84% by 2050 in industrialising countries. It recommends reducing meat and dairy consumption in addition to reducing use of air travel, cars and fossil-fuel based energy.

Read the full report, 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints, here. See also the Foodsource resource How might we define sustainable and healthy eating patterns (SHEPs)?

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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