In recent years, climate policy analysts have explored the links between consumption patterns and greenhouse gases (GHGs) by developing methods to estimate life-cycle emissions associated with different categories of consumption, e.g., a carbon “footprint”. However, surprisingly few studies have attempted to construct long-term scenarios of how far shifts in consumption patterns could reduce GHG emissions.

Most scenarios constructed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Energy Agency, and other organizations primarily focus on emissions associated with the sectors (e.g, industry, buildings, transportation, agriculture) that produce emissions, not the types of consumers (and associated products) that demand them. The goal of this project was to create, document, and pilot a methodology for constructing long-term scenarios of the GHG emissions associated with consumption.