From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 3- Demand-side strategies to tackle climate change
A paradigm shift in the way we think about climate action has been reported for the first time in the recent IPCC report through a chapter on “demand, services and social aspects of mitigation”.
Demand side strategies and their impact
- The report shows how, through comprehensive demand-side strategies, carbon dioxide and non-carbon GHG emissions globally can be reduced by 40–70 per cent compared to the 2050 emissions projection.
- This can be achieved through reduced food waste, following sustainable healthy dietary choices that acknowledge nutritional needs, adaptive heating and cooling, climate-friendly dressing culture, integration of renewable energy in buildings, shifting to electric light-duty vehicles, and to walking, cycling, shared and public transit, sustainable consumption by intensive use of longer-lived repairable products, compact city design and efficient floor area use of buildings.
- The IPCC report also shows that individuals with high socioeconomic status contribute disproportionately to emissions and have the highest potential for emissions reductions, as citizens, investors, consumers, role models, and professionals.
- Of the 60 actions assessed in this report, on an individual level, the biggest contribution comes from walking and cycling wherever possible and using electricity-powered transport.
Need for systemic changes
- To be effective, these shifts will need to be supported by systemic changes in some areas — for example, land use and urban planning policies to avoid urban sprawl, support for green spaces, reallocation of street spaces for walking and physical exercise, investment in public transport and infrastructure design for active and electric vehicles.
- Electrification and shifts to public transport also bring benefits in terms of enhancing health, employment, and equality.
- By providing user-level access to more efficient energy conversion technologies, the need for primary energy can be reduced by 45 per cent by 2050, compared to 2020.
- Demand-side changes cannot deliver the net-zero goal on their own.
- But this requires investment in and transformation across every sector, along with policies and incentives that encourage people to make low-carbon choices in all aspects of their lives.
- There is huge untapped potential in the near term through changes across transport, industry, buildings, and food that will take away the supply-side uncertainties and make it easier for people to lead low-carbon lifestyles and, at the same time, improve well-being.
The latest IPCC report puts people and their well-being at the centre of climate change mitigation. The messages are from a global perspective but have relevance to the national context of every country.