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The energy and carbon inequality corridor for a 1.5°C compatible and just Europe

Authors
/persons/resource/ingram.jaccard

Jaccard,  Ingram S.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

/persons/resource/pichler

Pichler,  Peter-Paul
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

/persons/resource/Johannes.Toebben

Többen,  Johannes
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

/persons/resource/Helga.Weisz

Weisz,  Helga
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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25602oa.pdf
(Publisher version), 547KB

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Citation

Jaccard, I. S., Pichler, P.-P., Többen, J., Weisz, H. (2021 online): The energy and carbon inequality corridor for a 1.5°C compatible and just Europe. - Environmental Research Letters.
https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abfb2f


Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25602
Abstract
The call for a decent life for all within planetary limits poses a dual challenge: Provide all people with the essential resources needed to live well and, collectively, not exceed the source and sink capacity of the biosphere to sustain human societies. We examine the corridor of possible distributions of household energy and carbon footprints that satisfy both minimum energy use for a decent life and available energy supply compatible with the 1.5°C target in 2050. We estimated household energy and carbon footprints for expenditure deciles for 28 European countries in 2015 by combining data from national household budget surveys with the Environmentally-Extended Multi-Regional Input-Output model EXIOBASE. We found a top-to-bottom decile ratio (90:10) of 7.2 for expenditure, 3.1 for net energy and 2.6 for carbon. The lower inequality of energy and carbon footprints is largely attributable to inefficient energy and heating technologies in the lower deciles (mostly Eastern Europe). Adopting best technology across Europe would save 11 EJ of net energy annually, but increase environmental footprint inequality. With such inequality, both targets can only be met through the use of CCS, large efficiency improvements, and an extremely low minimum final energy use of 28 GJ per adult equivalent. Assuming a more realistic minimum energy use of about 55 GJ/ae and no CCS deployment, the 1.5°C target can only be achieved at near full equality. We conclude that achieving both stated goals is an immense and widely underestimated challenge, the successful management of which requires far greater room for maneuver in monetary and fiscal terms than is reflected in the current European political discourse.