62/ How to Limit Global Warming to 1.5°C: A Societal Transformation Scenario (with Kai Kuhnhenn and Linda Schneider)

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This is a conversation with Kai Kuhnhenn and Linda Schneider. They recently co-wrote a really important and freely-available study exploring a Societal Transformation Scenario (STS) on how to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Topics Discussed:

  • The importance of the study
  • The problem with assuming economic growth in studying environmental impact
  • The reliance on growth in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports
  • Risks of geoengineering
  • Degrowth for the Global North
  • How the Societal Transformation Scenario (STS) differs from mainstream economics
  • The problems with uncritical techno-optimism
  • The risks of overshoot
  • Why Recycle is the least important of the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • What about the Global South?
  • Addressing economic justice
  • What exactly does Net Zero mean?
  • Keystone pipeline
  • Exploring the possible
  • Having hope
  • Climate anxiety

Recommended Books

  • The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
  • Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency by Andreas Malm

Here’s the abstract of the paper:

To stop climate change, we have to limit global warming to 1.5°C. But can we still achieve this target? And if so, what pathways can society take in transiting towards a climate-just economy? One important yardstick emerging from it was the need for global emissions to reach net-zero by 2050, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says in his «Special Report on Global Warming to 1.5°C». One important problem with this and other scenarios is that virtually all rely on continued global economic growth.

The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and the Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie realised the importance of broadening the discussion’s perspective and considering societal pathways that are currently not included in either the IPCC reports or the public debate. Together with researchers from engineering and the natural and social sciences, Heinrich Böll Foundation and Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie developed a «Societal Transformation Scenario» for this publication – a global climate mitigation scenario that explores the climate effects of limiting global production and consumptions and of envisioning a broader societal transformation to accompany these transformations to reach a good life for all.

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