Exploring carbon footprint reduction pathways through urban lifestyle changes: a practical approach applied to Japanese cities

Ryu Koide*, Satoshi Kojima, Keisuke Nansai, Michael Lettenmeier, Kenji Asakawa, Chen Liu, Shinsuke Murakami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Cities and urban consumers play a central role in the transition to a decarbonized society. Building on existing studies that identify the significant contributions of lifestyle changes, this study proposes a practical methodology for modeling and exploring city-specific carbon footprint reduction pathways through lifestyle changes to decarbonization. It uses an input-output approach with mixed-unit consumption data and the concept of adoption rates, which is applicable to multiple cities with widely available subnational household consumption data. This paper illustrates the use of this methodology by exploring the consumption-based mitigation pathways of 52 Japanese cities with 65 lifestyle change options covering mobility, housing, food, consumer goods, and leisure domains. The results revealed that city-specific impacts of a variety of lifestyle change options can differ by as much as a factor of five among cities, even in the urban context within the same country. Due to this city-level heterogeneity, the priority options of decarbonized lifestyles, such as among shared mobility, low-carbon diets, and longevity of consumer goods, have shifted between cities. The analysis suggests that ambitious urban lifestyle changes can potentially reduce their carbon footprints to meet the 1.5 C target. However, due to the overlaps of mitigation potentials between multiple lifestyle change options, the necessary levels of adoption and coverage are extensive (i.e. adoption rates of 0.6-0.9). Importantly, adopting lifestyle changes with an efficiency strategy (e.g. the introduction of end-use technologies) or sufficiency strategy (e.g. behavioral changes in consumption amounts and modes) alone is not enough; the only way to succeed is through the combination of both strategies. This paper calls for a target-based exploration and identification of city-specific priorities of lifestyle change options to facilitate consumption-oriented mitigation policies and stakeholder actions to address the climate impacts of urban consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084001
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • carbon footprints
  • urban lifestyle change
  • household consumption
  • zero-carbon cities
  • Paris agreement
  • CLIMATE
  • CONSUMPTION
  • HOUSEHOLDS

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