Keywords: sustainable development, quality of life, resource productivity
Development patterns in the North and their implications for climate change
According to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, developed countries should take the lead in combating climate change. This paper highlights development patterns that could gradually transform Northern societies in low-emission countries. Given that the environmental space available to an industrial country is limited by both ecology and equity, such a transition would imply reducing fossil energy use by 80-90%, roughly a factor of 10. Envisaging much higher levels of resource productivity, the paper sketches two wide-ranging strategies. First, system-wide increases in resource efficiency may result in decoupling economic output from resource flows. Second, new models of wealth may result in decoupling quality of life from resource flows.