Abstract: This seminar will report on several streams of research within the “Living Well Within Limits” project. The Living Well Within Limits project investigates the energy requirements of well-being, from quantitative, participatory and provisioning systems perspectives. In this presentation, Prof Steinberger will communicate individual and cross-cutting findings from the project, and their implications for the sustainability research community. In particular, she will share the projects most recent results on the international distribution of energy footprints by country, consumption category, and income classes, as well as results on the national characteristics that enable high well-being at low energy use. She will show that achieving low-carbon well-being, both from the beneficiary (“consumer”) and supply-chain (producer) sides, involves strong distributional and political elements. Simply researching this area from a behaviour, social practices or economic lens is insufficient to draw out the reasons for poor outcomes and most promising avenues for positive change. She thus argues for a much stronger political economyperspective in sustainability research.
Biography: Prof Julia Steinberger researches and teaches in the interdisciplinary areas of Ecological Economics and Industrial Ecology. Her research examines the connections between resource use (energy and materials, greenhouse gas emissions) and societal performance (economic activity and human wellbeing). She is interested in quantifying the current and historical linkages between resource use and socioeconomic parameters, and identifying alternative development pathways to guide the necessary transition to a low carbon society. She is the recipient of a Leverhulme Research Leadership Award for her research project ‘Living Well Within Limits’ investigating how universal human well-being might be achieved within planetary boundaries. She is Lead Author for the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report with Working Group 3.