Can a New Kind of Consumerism Help Fight Climate Change- keeping below 1.5C without relying on negative emissions technologies?

  • “We can promote sustainable development. We can stay below 1.5 degrees if we focus on energy end use, on the way people use energy and promote sustainable development, and here the key aspect is efficiency.”
  • Scientists has developed a global scenario called Low Energy Demand, arguing that humanity’s appetite for things like electric cars and cellphones, as well as the development of better building standards, can drive a revolution in efficiency that could help lower energy demand and encourage the proliferation of renewable energy.
  • Their scenario meets the 1.5 °C climate target as well as many sustainable development goals, without relying on negative emission technologies.
  • Scientists project, with their “Low Energy Demand” scenario, that global energy demand by 2050 reduces to 245 EJ, around 40% lower than today, despite rises in population, income and activity.

by Matt Simon  June 4 2018 Read full WIRED article here

Boy, it’s hard to stay optimistic these days, what with the impending doom of our species at the hands of … our species. Namely, human-caused climate change. Climbing temperatures are ripping apart ecosystems, and rising seas are already forcing people from their homes. If an asteroid was going to destroy our planet, now would be the time to just get it over with.

But today lands an uplifting and intriguing, if not counterintuitive, study in the journal Nature Energy. An international team of scientists has developed a global scenario called Low Energy Demand, arguing that humanity’s appetite for things like electric cars and cellphones, as well as the development of better building standards, can drive a revolution in efficiency that could help lower energy demand and encourage the proliferation of renewable energy. The researchers claim that if several trends fall into place, we’d be able to make the idealistic goal set by the Paris Climate Agreement to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees C.

To be clear: This is a highly theoretical scenario, not a certainty. It’s based on assumptions—technological adoption, population growth, etc.—and it is necessarily imperfect, like any model. These researchers aren’t saying, “Hooray, salvation!” They’re saying that given lots of converging trends in sustainability and efficiency, humanity could yet make big progress in tackling the problem of climate change….

Arnulf Grubler et al. A low energy demand scenario for meeting the 1.5 °C target and sustainable development goals without negative emission technologies. Nature Energy volume 3pages 515–527 (June 2018)