Creutzig, F., Roy, J., Minx, J.

Demand-side climate change mitigation: where do we stand and where do we go?

in Environmental Research Letters, 22.03.2024

Peer Review , Applied Sustainability Sciences , Land Use, Infrastructure and Transport

It is now well established that the demand side can contribute substantially to climate change mitigation thus increasing the solution space. The recent IPCC synthesis report for the first time explicitly reflected this class of solutions. Here, we provide an overview of an unique set of 22 review papers published in the focus issue of Environmental Research Letters. We also extract a key set of insights, ranging from the varied but rapidly evolving literature to demand-side mitigation potential, relevance for well-being, and consistent categorization of options across end-use sectors. We find that demand-side approaches to climate change mitigation supplement exclusively technology-focused supply side solutions and, in many cases, comprise system-wide effect contributing to well-being and planetary stability. Review studies cover macro-economics, well-being, and sustainable development goals on the metric side, and investigate consumption-based individual options, urban strategies, transport, building, and food sector potentials, but also the role of the circular economy, material efficiency, and digitalization. Demand-side measures can be categorized into avoid, shift, and improve approaches. Several additional reviews systematically investigate psychological and social approaches and initiatives to foster climate change mitigation. We finally outline important gaps and questions to be tackled in the coming years.