Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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Thursday 9 July - 15:00-16:30 UPMC Jussieu - ROOM 201 - Block 24/34

3317 - Mainstreaming low carbon consumption : challenges and opportunities

Parallel Session

Chair(s): G. Walker (Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster, United Kingdom)

Convener(s): C. Barbier (CIRED UMR 8568, Nogent-sur-Marne Cedex, France), B. Girod (Group for Technology and Sustainability, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland), R. Baartmans (TNO, Delft, Netherlands)

15:00

Low carbon living and energy demand as a shared social problem: from the little to the big

G. Walker (Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster, United Kingdom)

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Low carbon living and energy demand as a shared social problem: from the little to the big

G. Walker ()

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Bringing low carbon into being evidently means far more than innovating only in technological terms.  Co-evolving social change is also necessary, on a scale that extends beyond those people that are already committed, beyond individual attitudes and behaviours, to the truly collective, societal and structural.  In this paper I consider the implications in terms of both how we understand the nature of much of the energy consumption that makes up the carbon burden of contemporary living, the challenges involved in achieving ‘preferred’ forms of low carbon social change (in both energy and social justice terms) and ways of political articulating of what is at stake in governance terms. I will draw on recent research projects focused on the relation between social practice (shared forms of everyday living at home, at work and in moving around) and energy demand, including work on the spread of air conditioning, the mainstreaming of zero carbon homes, energy use in the living spaces of older people and flexibility in the temporal patterns and rhythms of daily energy demand

15:20

Daily innovations, social practices and sustainable consumption – Some insights from real life

S. Douzou (EDF, Clamart, France)

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Daily innovations, social practices and sustainable consumption – Some insights from real life

S. Douzou (1)
(1) EDF, Research and development, Clamart, France

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Daily innovations aiming at reducing C02 emissions and energy consumption constitute the cornerstone of most of scenarios and visions of the future underpinning climate change mitigation related policies and options for the residential sector. Not without reasons: the ambitious targets claimed may necessarily be achieved partly thanks to the integration of a sophisticated set of socio-technical eventual innovations. Under certain conditions however.  Provided that such projections of the future will be actually performed, incorporated and eventually mainstreamed in a given real social context. This communication will stress on the “reception” and appropriation processes of such visions in order to better understand such processes related to “real” conditions of innovations insertion/co-evolution. Based on selected case and field studies we will show that these are indeed deeply anchored in a particular historical, social and evolving context of a given Society and, as such, that Home Energy related innovations are hybrid and co-shaped devices resulting from of an intertwined process of innovation and social incorporation. By nature this process is dynamic, multi-scale and multi-players. After questioning the way most current policies and measures are formulated, as well as their main underlying assumptions illustrated by such notions as “public acceptance” or “social acceptability”, we will pledge for a move towards broader and more suitable concepts. We will  use some key-notions mainly derived from practice-based theory as applied to energy field, in order to develop concretely our argument through concrete and socially contextualise field studies. We will finally open up the discussion about how we could (should?) think and found differently Energy related policies in order to make them more efficient and impactful.

15:30

International Consultation on Consumption Patterns for Sustainable Development

S. C. R. . Soeiro Moraes (Centre for Strategic Studies and Management in Science, Technology and Innovation (CGEE), Brasília - DF, Brazil), M. Poppe, (Centre for Strategic Studies and Management in Science, Technology and Innovation (CGEE), Brasilia - DF, Brazil), A. C. F. Galvão, (Centre for Strategic Studies and Management in Science, Technology and Innovation (CGEE), Brasília - DF, Brazil)

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International Consultation on Consumption Patterns for Sustainable Development

SCR. Soeiro Moraes (1) ; M. Poppe, (2) ; ACF. Galvão, (3)
(1) Centre for Strategic Studies and Management in Science, Technology and Innovation (CGEE), Sustainable development, Brasília - DF, Brazil; (2) Centre for Strategic Studies and Management in Science, Technology and Innovation (CGEE), Sustainable development, Brasilia - DF, Brazil; (3) Centre for Strategic Studies and Management in Science, Technology and Innovation (CGEE), Brasília - DF, Brazil

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The current debate on the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals leads to a discussion of crucial points related to the definition of pathways for sustainable development, which must take into consideration how citizens, businesses and governments consume and how such patterns of consumption can be changed. With this in mind, the Brazilian Center for Strategic Studies and Management (CGEE) in cooperation with the Akatu Institute for Conscious Consumption, the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Institute of Research and Development (IRD), the Swedish Agency for Growth Analysis, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the World Centre for Sustainable Development (Rio+ Centre) organized the present international web-based consultation on consumption patterns for sustainable development. The consultation was addressed to a select group of people from academia, government, civil society and business sectors.

 

Agenda 21, adopted in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio 92) stated that “the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production” and recommended “a multipronged strategy focused on demand, meeting the basic needs of the poor and reducing wastage and the use of finite resources in the production process”. In 2012, world leaders once again met in Rio de Janeiro to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The conference outcome document, "The Future We Want", reaffirmed the commitment to fully implement Agenda 21 and called for the construction of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to go beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and frame the path to sustainable development.

 

The survey intends to contribute to the ongoing international negotiations for the definition of the SDGs at the United Nations. This process represents an important stepping-stone towards the creation of a global model for sustainable development. It should engage and establish commitments for both developed and developing countries, as well as balance the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, including the challenges presented by a changing climate. Therefore, the objective of the consultation is to map out society’s perceptions on issues pertaining to consumption patterns in the context of sustainable development and climate change to enable a comparison of the different views, as well as to identify commonalities, in order to help bridge knowledge and information gaps that may arise in the negotiation of the SDGs and of a new international treaty on climate change in 2015.

15:35

Panel discussion:

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Panel discussion:
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15:40

Mainstreaming low-carbon consumption: Opportunities, challenges and promising policy approaches

B. Girod (Group for Technology and Sustainability, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland)

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Mainstreaming low-carbon consumption: Opportunities, challenges and promising policy approaches

B. Girod (1)
(1) Group for Technology and Sustainability, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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Consumption-oriented climate mitigation approaches account for all emissions caused by regional consumption (including imported goods), while production-oriented approaches account for all emissions attributable to regional production (including exported goods). Although currently the production-oriented approach is predominantly applied in climate policy, the consumption-oriented approach offers several advantages. These include lower carbon leakage and reduced economic competitiveness concerns over the relocation of carbon-intensive production to regions without climate mitigation requirements. However, addressing emissions via consumption also comes with several new challenges. Policies aiming at radical changes in consumption patterns or reduction of consumption levels suffer from low public acceptance. The consumption-oriented policies with the highest acceptance are those that favour changes in consumption choices towards low-carbon products such as electric cars, net zero energy buildings or sustainably produced food. These policies still face three major challenges: First, they have to account for increasing consumption levels (rebound effects). Second, emissions embodied in the products (life-cycle emissions) need to be considered. Finally, the choice of policy instruments is limited by the path dependence of policymaking as well as the feasibility and public acceptance of the different instruments.

To address these challenges, a policy framework is developed that indicates how the carbon intensity of consumption could be reduced in line with the international climate target. The framework shows how the 2 degree climate target can be translated into carbon intensity targets for products. Comparing these targets with existing low-carbon products indicates that products in line with the required emissions reductions for 2050 are available for the main consumption categories (food, shelter, mobility, goods and services). Hence, to achieve the carbon intensity targets on the product level, the timely diffusion of existing low-carbon options is key. The framework therefore also describes how such carbon intensity targets can be achieved by describing the stylized development of consumption-oriented policies that were successfully implemented in the past. These include policies for mainstreaming low-carbon cars, energy-efficient buildings and appliances as well as sustainable timber products in the European Union. Learning from these policy experiences suggests that successful policy development is a stepwise process towards increasingly stringent standards. The stepwise increase in stringency typically starts with voluntary and information measures. Public procurement and financial incentives contribute to further diffusion of the low-carbon products. This provides the basis for introducing binding standards, which are then regularly tightened. Once established, standards can also be extended to include additional products and may become more comprehensive (e.g. also include other life-cycle emissions).

The framework helps guide future policymaking and allows the identification of the type of scientific research and policy support required to extend and improve consumption-oriented climate mitigation policy. While in the area of meat consumption and air travel the development of low-carbon innovations is necessary to provide low-carbon consumption options, most other consumption areas call for the mainstreaming of existing low-carbon options. Thus it is essential to achieve a better understanding of how to accelerate the development towards low-carbon standards for all consumption categories. International climate policy can foster this development by supporting the harmonization of carbon footprint norms for products. This will help to guide low carbon consumption, enhance conformity with international trade and facilitate the extension to embodied emissions of existing consumption-oriented climate policy. 

15:50

Carbon emission mitigation by Consumption-based Accounting and Policy

A. Tukker (TNO, Delft, Netherlands), D. Crawford-Brown (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom), E. Van Der Voet (Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands), R. Wood (NTNU, Trondheim, Norway), A. Anger (CE, Cambridge, United Kingdom)

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Carbon emission mitigation by Consumption-based Accounting and Policy

A. Tukker (1) ; D. Crawford-Brown (2) ; E. Van Der Voet (3) ; R. Wood (4) ; A. Anger (5)
(1) TNO, Strategy and policy, Delft, Netherlands; (2) University of Cambridge, Cambridge centre for climate change mitigation research, Cambridge, United Kingdom; (3) Leiden University, Cml, Leiden, Netherlands; (4) NTNU, Trondheim, Norway; (5) CE, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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Carbon emission mitigation by Consumption-based Accounting and Policy (Carbon-CAP)

Current climate policies are mainly shaped via territorial emission reduction approaches. Yet, growing consumption is a main driver behind rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Further, our economy is increasingly a single, global economy: international trade has risen threefold since 1990 implying pollution embodied in trade is now responsible for a significant part of total GHG emissions. Complementing territorial mitigation approaches with policies from a consumption oriented perspective hence can have added value. They can explicitly address consumption as a driver for rising GHG emissions, next to the problem of carbon leakage. However, there are significant questions about consumption based carbon accounting (CBCA) systems (Gap 1: CBCA reliability) and demand side policies (effectiveness (Gap 2) and societal impacts (Gap 3)). Stakeholders hence can easily question their added value (Gap 4).

The Carbon-CAP project aims to (1) stimulate innovative European and international demand side oriented climate policies and services due to more reliable and improved shared insights about consumption based GHG emissions, and (2) to realize a more effective policy mix for achieving the objectives of the EU Climate and Energy package and the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050, by quantitatively analyzing the added value of consumption-oriented climate mitigating polic ies.

Carbon-CAP will deliver insights in reliability and uncertainty in Consumption based carbon accounting (CBCA) and recommendations for an approach for implementation of a robust, reliably system for CBCA. A recommendation which demand side policy instruments have most added value in complementing existing territorial mitigation approaches, with their environmental and economic implications tested via three modelling perspectives.

This presentation will be part of our process of interactive learning between the project team and key players in the policy area. We will present our intermediate findings and will stimulate discussion and reactions in order to fine tune our approach and outcomes.

16:00

Designing and experiencing social practices in LivingLab environments - A novel approach to transform routinized behaviour via materialized social innovations

C. Liedtke (Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Wuppertal , Germany), C. Baedeker, (Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Wuppertal , Germany), J. Buhl, (Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Wuppertal , Germany)

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Designing and experiencing social practices in LivingLab environments - A novel approach to transform routinized behaviour via materialized social innovations

C. Liedtke (1) ; C. Baedeker, (1) ; J. Buhl, (1)
(1) Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Sustainable production and consumption, Wuppertal , Germany

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In recent years, theories of social practices have gained a lot of attention in the analysis of consumption. Social practices are the locus of the social, where action and structure are mediated. Social practices as a routinized type of behaviour consist of several elements, interconnected to one another: forms of bodily activities, forms of mental activities, ‘things’, and their use, a background knowledge in the form of understanding, know-how, states of emotion and motivational knowledge. In a nutshell: The interaction of material, skill and meaning. Social practice theories are just ideal for analysing routine behaviour. Thus consumption is not a practice itself but rather engaging in many practices requires a certain level of consumption of goods or services. Styles of consumption are interwoven with social practices of certain activities but also with daily routines i.e. in households. Consumers combine a number of different practices related to nutrition, mobility or housing and form them into lifestyles. The materials element shows how practices are directly or indirectly related to resource use for objects or infrastructures needed to engage in a given practice. Continuous engagement in a practice, rising numbers of practioners and differentiation thus keeps the engine running for continued extraction of natural resources. In order to observe, analyse and eventually identify promising interventions to support sustainable transitions of social practices, we developed a coherent research framework  - the Sustainable LivingLab (SLL). In principle, a SLL is a user-centric innovation approach built on every-day practice and research, with an approach that facilitates user influence in open and real-life contexts (i.e. in households), aiming to create sustainable values and practices. Therefore, SLL approach builds on social practice theory for two reasons:

i) Social practice theories are ideal for analysing routine behaviour related to a specific case study, e.g. heating.

ii) Design processes with regard to user practices make it easier to spread sustainable social innovations such as novel product service systems (PSS). Studies in failed innovations have shown that the benefits of eco-designed products, technologies or infrastructures are hardly realised if designed without reference to user practices. In this sense, SLL aims to identify the potentials of PSS innovations to embrace social innovation . In order to employ a SLL research approach, we developed a three-phase- research design.

1) The first phase of insight research involves understanding the status quo. How do practices look like. For instance, how do people heat, how do people interact with their heating system? Which interpretative schemes do people show towards internal room temperatures? Which routines do persist unreflected? Insight research applies in-deep methods of social research. Data logging is accompanied by qualitative interviews and observations of daily routines.

2) Based on the findings from insight research, the prototyping looks out for ideas of sustainable interventions in practises. The objective is to generate ideas and to integrate participants' knowledge into the design of prototypes. PSS and transformational designs may be developed for different types of households that demonstrate rather adverse practices. Instead of automating processes, PSS or transformational designs intervene in practices and behaviour at the right spot (i.e. leaving the heating on while a window is open). We aim to trigger social learning process and support users to reflect upon their actions.

3) In addition, the prototypes developed can be validated using experimental designs and field testing via installing prototypes in a sample of households and log potential change in practices, e.g. in internal temperature or CO2 concentration. Field testing can be complemented by broad-based survey or agent based modelling. A mix and combination of methods helps to generalise and validate small scale experimental field tests to a larger scale, such as urban transitions in quarters or cities.

The LivingLab approach and its three-phase model (insight research, prototyping, field testing) fits well for action and participatory oriented research. The methodology of research on sustainable consumption benefits substantially from experimental settings, its in-deep research of social practices and corresponding development of transformational designs. Results of action research and design will be presented.