Endogenous Simulation of Low-Carbon Lifestyle Change in Global Climate Mitigation Pathways
Global Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) used to characterise mitigation pathways have very limited or no formal representation of lifestyles and lifestyle change. We demonstrate a novel approach to endogenously simulating low-carbon lifestyle heterogeneity and lifestyle change through soft-coupling with our new empirically-based LIFE model. Coupling LIFE to global IAMs enables dynamic simulation of distinctive lifestyle change contributions to targeted mitigation strategies. We set out the empirical basis of the LIFE model, the methodological steps for soft-coupling to a global IAM, and show results from a test application to the residential sector using the MESSAGEix-Buildings model. A first key insight is that coupling with the LIFE model introduces heterogeneous behaviour between ‘engaged’ types, who experience faster and higher reductions in final energy demand compared to ‘disengaged’ types. When we further simulate a widespread shift in normative values, this gap is closed. A second key insight is that drivers of lifestyle change, act differently across ‘Improve’ and ‘Avoid’ dimensions. The ‘disengaged’ types, characterised by lower incomes, are more highly responsive to energy saving ‘Avoid’ behaviours. Our approach demonstrates how improved understanding of lifestyle change dynamics and more realistic, empirically-based quantitative simulations in climate mitigation pathways enriches scientific and policy analysis of how to achieve Paris Climate Agreement goals.
Citation: Pettifor H., Mastrucci A., Wilson C, van Ruijven B., Agnew M., Le Gallic T. (2023) Endogenous Simulation of Low-Carbon Lifestyle Change in Global Climate Mitigation Pathways, Environmental Research Letters