Policies and Tools for Mainstreaming 1.5° Degree Lifestyles

Climate change is one of the most pressing crises we must solve. This crisis is driven by the way we live, what resources we consume, and how we interact with each other. We produce a great amount of greenhouse gases which heat up the atmosphere and put the health of human beings, animals and ecosystems into serious danger. There is no doubt we need to change our lifestyles and re-evaluate what resources we use and how we consume them. The Paris Agreement and the EU Green Deal have set up a collection of climate targets, with 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures as the aspirational climate goal. This requires action from various stakeholders, from politicians and entrepreneurs to individual consumers.

The implementation of lifestyle changes towards the 1.5-degree target is hampered by

  • limitations in quantitative data on how different lifestyles could mitigate climate change;
  • a lack of evidence of public acceptance of drastic changes;
  • past policies that promoted individual behaviour changes but forgot to address structural constraints.

For this reason, adelphi and nine other partners from Germany, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Spain, the Netherlands and Hungary have agreed to support the climate target by contributing to mainstreaming 1.5-degree lifestyles (i.e., lifestyles that allow us to limit global warming to a maximum 1.5 degrees). Within this EU-funded project, we will explore possibilities of transforming lifestyles. To this end, we will develop practical guidance for policy makers, intermediary actors, and individuals, based on scientific evidence on how lifestyle choices affect carbon footprints and how political, economic, and social contexts enable or constrain sustainable options. In doing so, we hope to facilitate transformation and further sustainable development.

This project pursues several goals. First, the climate and health impacts of shifting our lifestyles will be quantified. In addition, a qualitative analysis on low-carbon transformative strategies for households will be conducted. Constraints and barriers to sustainable lifestyle changes will be analysed and potential risks of lifestyle changes to economic and welfare systems will be assessed. Finally, the aim is to communicate and engage with actors in order to help them adopt transformative approaches to achieve 1.5-degree lifestyles. The project is funded by the EU programme Horizon 2020.

adelphi is, among other things, responsible for organizing citizen thinking labs in the five case study countries: Sweden, Latvia, Hungary, Spain, and Germany. With this innovative and interactive approach, we will explore what helps or hinders households on their way towards the 1.5-degree lifestyle. Throughout the project’s duration of four years, adelphi will examine citizens’ preferences and help to communicate and disseminate project outcomes to the public and decision makers in Germany and the EU.