Reducing global inequality to secure human wellbeing and climate safety: a modelling study

Elsevier, The Lancet Planetary Health, Volume 7, Issue 2, February 2023, Pages e147-e154
Joel Millward-Hopkins PhD, Yannick Oswald PhD

For decades, climate researchers have highlighted the unprecedented emissions reductions necessary if we are to meet global mitigation ambitions. To achieve these reductions, the climate change mitigation scenarios that dominate the literature assume large-scale deployment of negative-emissions technologies, but such technologies are unproven and present considerable trade-offs for biodiversity and food systems. In response, energy researchers have postulated low energy demand scenarios as alternatives and others have developed models for estimating the minimum energy requirements for the provision of decent material living standards considered essential for human wellbeing. However, a key question that our study aims to explore is how a climate-safe, low energy demand future, and universal decent living could be achieved simultaneously, given the magnitude of current global inequalities in energy consumption and technological access.