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Downscaling down under: towards degrowth in integrated assessment models

Kikstra, Jarmo S., Li, Mengyu, Brockway, Paul E., Hickel, Jason, Keysser, Lorenz, Malik, Arunima, Rogelj, Joeri, van Ruijven, Bas and Lenzen, Manfred (2024) Downscaling down under: towards degrowth in integrated assessment models. Economic Systems Research. ISSN 0953-5314

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09535314.2023.2301443


IPCC reports, to date, have not featured ambitious mitigation scenarios with degrowth in high-income regions. Here, using MESSAGEix-Australia, we create 51 emissions scenarios for Australia with near-term GDP growth going from +3%/year to rapid reductions (−5%/year) to explore how a traditional integrated assessment model (IAM) represents degrowth from an economic starting point, not just energy demand reduction. We find that stagnating GDP per capita reduces the mid-century need for upscaling solar and wind energy by about 40% compared to the SSP2 growth baseline, and limits future material needs for renewables. Still, solar and wind energy in 2030 is more than quadruple that of 2020. Faster reductions in energy demand may entail higher socio-cultural feasibility concerns, depending on the policies involved. Strong reductions in inequality reduce the risk of lowered access to decent living services. We discuss research needs and possible IAM extensions to improve post-growth and degrowth scenario modelling.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
JEL classification: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O4 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity > O40 - General
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2024 11:27
Last Modified: 29 May 2024 22:36

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