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Summary Report No. 90

Lebensstile und globaler Energieverbrauch - Analyse und Strategieansätze zu einer nachhaltigen Energiestruktur

F. Reusswig, K. Gerlinger, O. Edenhofer (July 2004)

Lifestyle and consumption have emerged as research issues in energy and climate change related research in recent years for obvious reasons: with the emergence and the global spread of the modern ‚consumer society’ lifestyle induced consumption decisions by private households more and more influence total energy consumption and related carbon dioxide emissions. The paper discusses the use of the lifestyle concept derived from sociology and market research for household energy consumption and the potential for more sustainable changes. A main section is dedicated to a new way of decomposing country statistics on energy consumption, economic growth, C02 emissions, and energy mix. We detect five distinct patterns of national energy systems via a cluster analysis of country data and their change over time. These clusters represent distinct trajectories of the recent energy economic history of the country groups and define some path dependencies for energy policy options in the nearer future which are discussed briefly. The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) debate is discussed critically in the light of the more flexible and regionally adapted way of conceiving the worlds’ energy system. The paper offers a quantitative the estimation of private households’ contribution to total energy related CO2 emissions, thus contributing to the assessment of lifestyle-related emissions. The final section discusses practical consequences for energy policy and lifestyle related environmental communication.


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