Demand-side approaches for limiting global warming to 1.5 °C

Luis Mundaca, Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, Charlie Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)
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The Paris Climate Agreement defined an ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels. This has triggered research on stringent emission reduction targets and corresponding mitigation pathways across energy economy and societal systems. Driven by methodological considerations, supply side and carbon dioxide removal options feature prominently in the emerging pathway literature, while much less attention has been given to the role of demand-side approaches. This special issue addresses this gap, and aims to broaden and strengthen the knowledge base in this key research and policy area. This editorial paper synthesizes the special issue’s contributions horizontally through three shared themes we identify: policy interventions, demand-side measures, and methodological approaches. The review of articles is supplemented by insights from other relevant literature. Overall, our paper underlines that stringent demand-side policy portfolios are required to drive the pace and direction of deep decarbonization pathways and keep the 1.5 °C target within reach. It confirms that insufficient attention has been paid to demand-side measures, which are found to be inextricably linked to supply-side decarbonization and able to complement supply-side measures. The paper also shows that there is an abundance of demand-side measures to limit warming to 1.5 °C, but it warns that not all of these options are “seen” or captured by current quantitative tools or progress indicators, and some remain insufficiently represented in the current policy discourse. Based on the set of papers presented in the special issue, we conclude that demand-side mitigation in line with the 1.5 °C goal is possible; however, it remains enormously challenging and dependent on both innovative technologies and policies, and behavioral change. Limiting warming to 1.5 °C requires, more than ever, a plurality of methods and integrated behavioral and technology approaches to better support policymaking and resulting policy interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343–362
Number of pages20
JournalEnergy Efficiency
Early online date21 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2019

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