By Beh Lih Yi
Oct 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — From banning private jets and yachts to cutting back on meat-eating, researchers on Tuesday urged the world’s major economies to adopt “radical” policies to limit the impact of luxury lifestyles on global warming — even if they prove unpopular.
Today’s “lifestyle” carbon footprints in the 20 largest economies are out of line with an internationally agreed goal to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial times, says a new study by the Berlin-based Hot or Cool Institute.
Individual behavior changes alone will not be sufficient without a major shift in government policies to push citizens to lead greener lifestyles, the researchers said.
The UN climate science panel warned in August that global heating is dangerously close to spiralling out of control and will bring climate disruption globally for decades to come.
Here is a look at citizens’ carbon footprints in the world’s leading economies and what can governments do to shrink them.
How are lifestyle choices making global warming worse?
There are “massive gaps” between current per-capita carbon footprints and the 1.5 Celsius warming ceiling, shows the research by the Hot or Cool Institute, based on an analysis of half of the G20 group of countries.
All those analyzed — Canada, Finland, Britain, Japan, China, South Africa, Turkey, Brazil, India, and Indonesia — exceed the lifestyle carbon footprints for 2050 that would allow the 1.5 Celsius goal to be met.
Report lead author Lewis Akenji said discussing changes in lifestyles “is a hot-potato issue to policy makers who are afraid to touch consumption or the lifestyles of voters.”