Implications of the 1.5-degrees target for the resource use of lifestyles

Michael Lettenmeier, Mathis Wackernagel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientific


At current emission level, humanity would have used up their remaining carbon footprint budget from now to eternity within four years or less, when compared to the emissions compatible with keeping global warming within a limit of 1.5 °C. Therefore, zero net carbon lifestyles (for all) should be achieved well before 2050. These lifestyles have also to manage within the budgets of natural resources provided by the planet, e.g. in terms of land area and material resources available. This paper looks at such lifestyles under the premises of the 1.5 °C target and a sustainable level of resource use. "One-planet lifestyles" have been illustrated on relatively detailed level in studies on the Ecological Footprint and the Material Footprint. The paper illustrates the production and consumption features on the basis of the three footprint approaches. The paper discusses opportunities to achieve these one-planet lifestyles through measures related to production, infrastructure, and consumption. Opportunities in reducing the climate impact of food production and consumption are highlighted. Building new homes from wood instead of concrete to render buildings from carbon emitters to carbon sinks is another relevant option, or running public transport on low- or zero-carbon renewables. Pilot studies indicate that considerable reductions in households' footprints, particularly among high-income communities, are possible even in the short term and with increasing quality of life. A huge amount of solutions for decreasing footprints already exists. Investing in the right energy, transport, food and urban infrastructure, as well as addressing the size of humanity's population will therefore determine whether humanity will win or lose the race for sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Resources Forum 2017 : Accelerating the Resource Revolution
Subtitle of host publicationMeeting Report
EditorsMaría Lucía Híjar
Place of PublicationSt. Gallen
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-906177-18-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
EventWorld Resources Forum: Accelerating the Resource Revolution - Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 24 Oct 201725 Oct 2017


ConferenceWorld Resources Forum
Internet address


  • 1.5 degree C
  • Carbon footprint
  • Ecological footprint
  • Material footprint
  • Lifestyles

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Implications of the 1.5-degrees target for the resource use of lifestyles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Lettenmeier, M., & Wackernagel, M. (2018). Implications of the 1.5-degrees target for the resource use of lifestyles. In M. L. Híjar (Ed.), World Resources Forum 2017 : Accelerating the Resource Revolution: Meeting Report