Cover A Societal Transformation Scenario for Staying Below 1.5°C

A Societal Transformation Scenario for Staying Below 1.5°C

A study by Kai Kuhnhenn, Luis Costa, Eva Mahnke, Linda Schneider, Steffen Lange
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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 Foundation 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.

Here you can find a summary of the scenario that brings together all the key points.

Here you find the FAQs on the scenario.

Product details
Date of Publication
December 2020
Heinrich Böll Foundation and Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie 2020
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents



1 Why we need a Societal Transformation Scenario

2 The bias towards growth and technology fixes in most climate scenarios

3 Scenario philosophy: key premises

4 Methodology

   Comparison of Integrated Assessment Models and the Global Calculator

5 The Societal Transformation Scenario (STS)

   5.1 Selection criteria for consumption parameters

   5.2 Road-based passenger transport

   5.3 Passenger Aviation

   5.4 Ground freight transport

   5.5 Housing

   5.6 Food Sector: Sustainable diets and ruminant meat

   5.7 Land use changes and CO2 sequestration

   5.8 Technology, agriculture and land use parameters

6 Scenario results

7 The Societal Transformation Scenario – sketches of a different tomorrow

8 Conclusion

Annex 1 – Assumptions in the model

Annex 2 – On CO2 sequestration through ecosystem-based approaches and

the fallacy of «net-zero»

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