MO.1.C || Achieving Sustainability Goals on the Regional, National and International Level

Gibon, Thomas; Hitaj, Claudia; Igos, Elorri; Babi Almenar, Javier

We propose a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per capita per year to a level that is sustainable and in keeping with the climate warming targets set in the Paris Agreement. We compute the carbon footprint of the average Luxembourger via bottom-up approach using process-based LCA data. Currently at around 15 tons of CO2 eq. capita-1 year-1, emissions would need to remain below 1.6 tons of CO2 eq. capita-1 year-1 by 2050 to stay well below the 2°C warming scenario of the Paris Agreement. Reducing GHG emissions by almost 90% is an enormous task that will affect almost every aspect of current lifestyles. We present a decarbonization pathway that builds on actions known to be technically feasible today, for which we test their spatial feasibility. Not surprisingly, it includes switching to electric vehicles, decarbonizing the grid, switching from car mobility to soft mobility and public transportation (while favouring compact urban areas), energy efficiency renovations in the housing sector, and shifting away from red meat consumption in diets. What we found is that these actions (focused on reducing the emission rate of an activity) shrink the carbon footprint of the average Luxembourg resident by only 64%, falling short of the 90% required reduction. Only by including additional “sufficiency” measures that reduce consumption outright can the Paris Agreement target emissions per capita be attained. This includes reducing the living space per capita in order to reduce demand for heating, reducing consumption of clothing, electronics, and cosmetics, reducing demand for local or regional transportation through telework and favouring urban development around transport hubs, and reducing demand for air travel. We also find that decarbonization including measures implemented solely in the Luxembourg territory would not be as effective as coordinated decarbonization measures implemented across the Luxembourg Greater Region.

Categories: Sustainability and Impact Assessment
Tags: Oral