Greenhouse gas emissions, resource extraction, pollution and other environmental pressures are globally destabilising climates and ecosystems that provide the basis for human (and non-human) living. Humans take a dual role in this relationship as the main driver/cause of environmental change, but also as subjects of that change.
This interdisciplinary session aims to bring together three broad research questions that highlight different aspects of the human-environment system.
(a) To what extent can environmental impacts be avoided by tackling important drivers of energy and material use?
(b) What are the potentials and limitations for a demand-side transformation that reduces environmental pressures?
(c) How does environmental change affect the demand for energy and materials?
We welcome analyses across individual, societal and system level, and encourage an explicit consideration of how the assessed human-environment interaction is affected by the characteristics of the socio-technical and political-economic provisioning systems that link resource use to social outcomes in the study context.
We welcome presentations that spur discussion between different disciplines and address crucial questions that deal with consumption and possible limits to sustaining current levels or growing resource use. We encourage studies from a wide range of disciplines and methodological underpinnings, including but not limited to ecological economics, societal metabolism, social provisioning, human needs, and integrated assessment modelling and scenario building.
The session disentangles human-environment interactions especially in the context of the Paris Agreement climate targets. It hopes to provide multiple perspectives on the challenges and potential for living in a world where human well-being for all can be achieved with minimal environmental impact and within planetary boundaries. This could include studies on drivers of energy and resource use, potentials and limitations of decoupling, infrastructure needs and reform, improvements in service provisioning, as well as deeper changes in the mode of production and consumption and in socio-technical / political-economic systems or regimes (e.g., post-growth, efficiency, sufficiency, avoid-shift-improve, lifestyles, circular economy, alternative need satisfiers). This also calls for studies exploring alternative scenarios and modelling methods with different socioeconomic futures and distributional implications.