The Living Well Within Limits project investigates the energy requirements of well-being, from quantitative, participatory and provisioning systems perspectives. In this presentation, I will communicate individual and cross-cutting findings from the project, and their implications. In particular, I will share our most recent results on the international distribution of energy footprints by country, consumption category, and income classes, as well as modelling the minimum energy demand that would provide decent living standards for everyone on earth by 2050. I will show that achieving low-carbon well-being, both from the beneficiary (“consumer”) and supply-chain (producer) sides, involves strong distributional and political elements. Political economy research is thus necessary to diagnose reasons for poor outcomes, and identify the most promising avenues for positive change. I thus argue for the active (as in activist) engagement of the research community.
Professor Julia Steinberger researches Ecological Economics at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Her research examines the connections between resource use (energy and materials, greenhouse gas emissions) and societal performance (economic activity and human wellbeing). Since 2023, she co-leads the EU ERC Synergy grant “REAL- A Post-Growth Deal” on post-growth societies. She is Lead Author for the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report with Working Group 3.