Following this experiment, what benefits do you see for yourself, of living within the 2030 1.5oC targets?
For me, the primary benefit was health-related, firstly by reducing the amount of meat-based meals I had and replacing them with vegan/vegetarian alternatives, but also by reducing (not always successfully…) my consumption of high-carbon snacks . Another benefit of living within the 2030 1.5oC target is economic: meat is expensive, and walking more often rather than driving can help save a lot of money.
What are the low-carbon activities you find great and would like to make part of your life?
With the pandemic I have focused on exercising more and going to the gym, but when I can I run outdoors rather than on a treadmill. I enjoy going on hikes (as seen in the shared picture), walking rather than taking the car when possible, and I’d like to add cycling to my options as well. Reducing waste is otherwise something I find important to lower your personal environmental impact.
What activities seem incompatible (even with probable efficiencies) with the 1.5oC targets?
The main takeaway for me with this experience is that having meat more than 1 or 2 times a week can very quickly make you go over your budget, even with an otherwise low carbon lifestyle. While I was able to stick to my budget and still eat meat, I’m not convinced that would have been possible if I had children or owned a house. That being said, replacing red meat with white meat or fish, while still more carbon intensive than vegan meals, can go a long way in sticking to your budget.
Finally, I also drive very little compared to the average American resident (and when I do it’s in a second-hand hybrid car) and the spreadsheet allowed me to see that the daily use of an internal combustion engine car would have drastically increased my carbon footprint.
Do you think we can achieve 2030 1.5oC targets while leading quality, dignifying, healthy lives and why?
I do think it’s possible to achieve 2030 1.5oC targets while living quality dignifying, healthy lives but this comes with an important caveat. Low carbon dietary and transport choices can lead to a better quality of life, but there are still few societal incentives to make these lifestyle changes, some of which are more accessible to wealthy people. In many cases the incentive is to consume more rather than less. Looking at transportation as an example here in the US, it is not possible to expect all working people to not use their cars anymore, especially low and mid-income families, because alternatives are either non-existent or not convenient/cost-effective.