WIT Press

How Dematerialization Contributes To A Low Carbon Society?


Free (open access)





Page Range

315 - 326




780 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


S. Fujimori & T. Masui


In the light of recent knowledge about the seriousness of climate change, a lot of attention is being paid to low carbon societies, which reduce their carbon emissions. On the other hand, in terms of sustainability, some countries are seeking a dematerialized society. Such a dematerialized society aims to reduce material inputs and waste discharge. The question follows as to how these two types of societies are related. Presumably, the carbon emission in a dematerialized society can be expected to be lower than in a non-dematerialized society. However, just how much lower? This study answers to this question with a quantitative analysis by using a global CGE (Computable General Equilibrium) model. The CGE model has the advantage that it can analyze a whole economic system, its energy use and CO2 emission consistently. We conduct scenario analysis using this CGE model. Four comparative scenarios are simulated; (1) business as usual without carbon emission constraints, (2) dematerialization without carbon emission constraints (3) business as usual with carbon emission constraints, and (4) dematerialization with carbon emission constraints. For each scenario CO2 emissions and material inputs for the whole society are estimated and analyzed. The time period covered is from 2005 to 2050 and the target area is the world divided into 12 regions. In this study, we focus on steel as an indicator of the dematerialization. For developing a dematerialized society scenario, we examine changes in investment and assume other materials are substituted for steel. There are two main findings. One is that dematerialization certainly reduces the CO2 emission globally, especially in Asian developing countries and reduces the carbon cost. The other is that even though dematerialization contributes to the development of a low carbon society, there still seems to be difficulties in achieving a large CO2 emission reduction.


dematerialization, low carbon society, CGE model, steel consumption, GHG emission price