While the question of lifestyles and their sobriety has long been at the heart of ecological thinking, its explicit integration into national and international decarbonation pathways is relatively new. What methodological and substantive challenges does this development pose in terms of understanding, representing and projecting the ecological transition?
- An evolution in low-carbon foresight exercises can be observed: it opens up a new field of possibilities and space for exploration by explicitly considering changes in lifestyle and behaviour.
- Better integrating these dimensions into foresight research can make four main contributions to the policy discussion: 1) showing the limits of current strategies and reaffirming the technical and social character of the transition; 2) shifting the focus to technical solutions and testing the feasibility and role of other transformations; 3) building a common language and making the transition more concrete; and 4) encouraging to increase our knowledge of social transformations and break out of disciplinary silos.
- These benefits can be realised provided that the political dimension of exploring lifestyles is recognised, that the challenges inherent in multidisciplinary approaches are overcome, and that specific methodologies are developed.