Resource use in a post-fossil green Germany
in: Sustainable Development and Resource Productivity
Human life requires materials. Currently, the amount of used materials increases with the level of wealth. However, to mitigate climate change, the fossil-based economies have to change towards a post-fossil, circular, sustainable economy. This chapter analyses different strategies to decline resource consumption in the scenarios GreenEe, GreenLate, GreenMe, GreenLife and GreenSupreme. It presents the resulting primary and secondary resource consumption (RMC) and the demand of selected metals during the transformation process and in 2050. The chapter demonstrates that recycling, substitution and increasing efficiency are valuable measures to minimise material consumption. The consequence of the low ambitious level in GreenLate is a low decrease in material and metal consumption and a low degree of circularity of the economy. In contrast, ambitious technological changes as shown in GreenMe and particularly combined with lifestyle changes in GreenSupreme make it possible to achieve a strong decline of primary material demand. The resulting value of 5.7 tons per person (RMC) in GreenSupreme are clearly below the global average of 11.98 tons (in 2015) and in line with material consumption targets as discussed, for example, by Stefan Bringezu. A degree of 30% circularity in the physical economy and more is feasible with existing technologies.