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      Human well-being and climate change mitigation : Human well-being and climate change mitigation

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      Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Climate change mitigation research is fundamentally motivated by the preservation of human lives and the environmental conditions which enable them. However, the field has to date rather superficial in its appreciation of theoretical claims in well-being thought, with deep implications for the framing of mitigation priorities, policies, and research. Major strands of well-being thought are hedonic well-being—typically referred to as happiness or subjective well-being—and eudaimonic well-being, which includes theories of human needs, capabilities, and multidimensional poverty. Aspects of each can be found in political and procedural accounts such as the Sustainable Development Goals. Situating these concepts within the challenges of addressing climate change, the choice of approach is highly consequential for: (1) understanding inter- and intra-generational equity; (2) defining appropriate mitigation strategies; and (3) conceptualizing the socio-technical provisioning systems that convert biophysical resources into well-being outcomes. Eudaimonic approaches emphasize the importance of consumption thresholds, beyond which dimensions of well-being become satiated. Related strands of well-being and mitigation research suggest constraining consumption to within minimum and maximum consumption levels, inviting normative discussions on the social benefits, climate impacts, and political challenges associated with a given form of provisioning. The question of how current socio-technical provisioning systems can be shifted towards low-carbon, well-being enhancing forms constitutes a new frontier in mitigation research, involving not just technological change and economic incentives, but wide-ranging social, institutional, and cultural shifts.

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          Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 degrees C.

          More than 100 countries have adopted a global warming limit of 2 degrees C or below (relative to pre-industrial levels) as a guiding principle for mitigation efforts to reduce climate change risks, impacts and damages. However, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions corresponding to a specified maximum warming are poorly known owing to uncertainties in the carbon cycle and the climate response. Here we provide a comprehensive probabilistic analysis aimed at quantifying GHG emission budgets for the 2000-50 period that would limit warming throughout the twenty-first century to below 2 degrees C, based on a combination of published distributions of climate system properties and observational constraints. We show that, for the chosen class of emission scenarios, both cumulative emissions up to 2050 and emission levels in 2050 are robust indicators of the probability that twenty-first century warming will not exceed 2 degrees C relative to pre-industrial temperatures. Limiting cumulative CO(2) emissions over 2000-50 to 1,000 Gt CO(2) yields a 25% probability of warming exceeding 2 degrees C-and a limit of 1,440 Gt CO(2) yields a 50% probability-given a representative estimate of the distribution of climate system properties. As known 2000-06 CO(2) emissions were approximately 234 Gt CO(2), less than half the proven economically recoverable oil, gas and coal reserves can still be emitted up to 2050 to achieve such a goal. Recent G8 Communiqués envisage halved global GHG emissions by 2050, for which we estimate a 12-45% probability of exceeding 2 degrees C-assuming 1990 as emission base year and a range of published climate sensitivity distributions. Emissions levels in 2020 are a less robust indicator, but for the scenarios considered, the probability of exceeding 2 degrees C rises to 53-87% if global GHG emissions are still more than 25% above 2000 levels in 2020.
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            Do we really know what makes us happy? A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being

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              CAPABILITIES AS FUNDAMENTAL ENTITLEMENTS: SEN AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
                WIREs Clim Change
                Wiley
                17577780
                November 2017
                November 2017
                August 17 2017
                : 8
                : 6
                : e485
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC); Berlin Germany
                [2 ]Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment; University of Leeds & ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy; Leeds UK
                Article
                10.1002/wcc.485
                © 2017

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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