Understanding the gaps and addressing the potentials of energy sufficiency in "catching-up" European economies
While the role of energy sufficiency as an essential driver towards reaching climate goals has been discussed in the European context for a few years, it still faces obstacles to making its way towards policy agendas. On one hand, existing policies tend to focus on energy efficiency and the development of renewable energies, which are more clearly identified, thoroughly assessed and integrated into available scenarios. On the other hand, energy sufficiency is commonly perceived as a limitation to individual needs and thought of in terms of willingness for behavioural change, although the concept has also to be considered at the policy level, resulting in infrastructural changes. This paper addresses reasons and ways to bridge this gap in understanding energy sufficiency and its role in strengthening the climate mitigation actions, with a focus on two "catchingup" economies in Central and Eastern Europe: Hungary and Lithuania. It summarises results from the CACTUS project, which analyses the integration of sufficiency in the sectors with the highest energy consumption shares, namely building and transport. First, the paper examines the potentials of energy sufficiency regarding energy and climate policy goals in the transport sector and discusses the building of energy sufficiency assumptions in the perspective of a European convergence. Then, considering the crucial role that scenario development plays in framing climate policies, it analyses the methods and challenges for integrating these assumptions in scenario models. The paper also explores the path towards more ambitious mitigation strategies by providing exploratory quantitative and qualitative analysis of sufficiency potentials. The results of the project are expected to pave the way for the development of sufficiency policies by raising the awareness of policymakers on the sufficiency concept and its mitigation role.