• TwitterFacebookLinkedInYoutube

Assessing Lifestyle Transformations and Their Systemic Effects in Energy-System and Integrated Assessment Models: A Review of Current Methods and Data

by Panagiotis Fragkos of E3-Modelling

Achieving the ambitious climate targets required to limit global warming to 1.5 °C requires a deep transformation of the supply-and-demand side of energy–environmental–economic systems. Recent articles have shown that environmentally sustainable consumer behaviors driven by lifestyle changes can significantly contribute to climate-change mitigation and sustainable development goals.

However, lifestyle changes are not adequately captured by scenarios developed with integrated assessment and energy-system models (IAMs/ESMs), which provide limited policy insights. This article conducts a systematic review of the IAM and ESM literature to identify the most important lifestyle changes in current mitigation pathways for the residential and transport sectors, review the employed state-of-the-art modeling approaches and scenario assumptions, and propose improvements to existing methodological frameworks.

The review finds that mode shifts towards public transport and active transport modes, shared mobility, and eco-driving have the greatest impact in the transport sector, while actions that reduce space and water-heating requirements and the circular economy are the most effective practices in households. Common modeling approaches lack sophistication as they omit (1) the dynamics and costs of demand-side transitions, (2) the heterogenous responses of different consumer groups, and (3) the structural effects of lifestyles on the macro-economy. New approaches employing innovative methodologies combined with big data collected from users offer new avenues to overcome these challenges and improve the modeling of lifestyle changes in large-scale models.

Published on 06.07.2022 in MDPI