Various IIASA studies have highlighted the need for societal and technological transformations that could form the basis for new lifestyles to create a  more just, net-zero world through innovation.

A commentary by members of the Energy Demand Changes Induced by Technological and Social Innovations (EDITS) network, coordinated by IIASA, highlighted that switching the focus from how energy is supplied to how energy is consumed can be a more effective approach to reducing carbon emissions with the added benefit of improving wellbeing for all.

“Placing individual level transformations at the center of solutions to reduce energy consumption globally does not mean shifting the responsibility of climate mitigation to people,” says IIASA researcher and coauthor of the  commentary Benigna Boza‑Kiss. “On the contrary, it is about empowering people by providing access to the right infrastructure and incentives.” Consistent with this principle, the project LOW‑AI, short for Data-driven  understanding of low-carbon lifestyles, utilized social media data to analyze shifts in behavior related to low-carbon living. It tracks global lifestyle changes, while also developing novel methods with broader geographical  coverage compared to traditional approaches.

For example, in a study about consumers’ interest in air conditioning, IIASA researchers demonstrated how social media data supplements conventional data, providing wider geographic, socioeconomic, and temporal  coverage at lower costs. By showing the extent of interest across the world there is now a better understanding of how climate change adaptation measures might be adopted on a global scale.

Further info:

Wilson, C. , Grubler, A. , Nemet, G., Pachauri, S. , Pauliuk, S., & Wiedenhofer, D. (2023). The 'High-with-Low' Scenario Narrative: Key Themes, Cross-Cutting Linkages, and Implications for Modelling. IIASA Working Paper. Laxenburg, Austria: WP-23-009

Sugiyama, M., Wilson, C. , Wiedenhofer, D., Boza-Kiss, B. , Cao, T., Chatterjee, J.S., Chatterjee, S., Hara, T., Hayashi, A., Ju, Y., Krey, V. , Godoy León, M.F., Martinez, L., Masanet, E., Mastrucci, A. , Min, J. , Niamir, L. , Pelz, S. , Roy, J., Saheb, Y., Schaeffer, R., Ürge-Vorsatz, D., van Ruijven, B. , Shimoda, Y., Verdolini, E., Wiese, F., Yamaguchi, Y., Zell-Ziegler, C., & Zimm, C. (2024). High with low: Harnessing the power of demand-side solutions for high wellbeing with low energy and material demand. Joule 8 (1) 1-6. 10.1016/j.joule.2023.12.014.