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Measuring progress towards carbon reduction in the UK

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  • Druckman, A.
  • Bradley, P.
  • Papathanasopoulou, E.
  • Jackson, T.

Abstract

The UK Climate Change Bill proposes to establish legally binding targets for a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. This paper discusses the challenges posed by measuring progress towards this target. It takes as a premise that the conventional production-based accounting framework, enshrined in the UNFCCC emissions accounting guidelines, is inappropriate for this task because it fails to account for the carbon 'traded' across the UK national boundary. Accordingly, it sets out a consumption-based accounting framework - using a two-region Environmental Input-Output (EIO) model - which could in principle measure progress in reducing the emissions attributable to final consumers in the UK. It illustrates the use of this framework to measure the reduction in carbon dioxide achieved by the UK between 1990 (the Kyoto base year) and the year 2004 and compares this against the production perspective. The results indicate that any progress towards the UK's carbon reduction targets (visible under a production perspective) disappears completely when viewed from a consumption perspective. But the robustness of this conclusion depends critically on the accuracy of underlying economic and environmental datasets as well as specific assumptions concerning imports. By analysing the consistency of UK Input-Output data, we conclude that EIO is still some way from being able to answer the critical question of the carbon trade balance for the UK. In these circumstances, measuring real progress towards carbon reduction in the UK remains elusive.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 594-604

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:66:y:2008:i:4:p:594-604

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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Keywords: Input-output analysis Carbon dioxide emissions Energy policy Carbon trade balance;

References

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  1. Wiedmann, Thomas & Minx, Jan & Barrett, John & Wackernagel, Mathis, 2006. "Allocating ecological footprints to final consumption categories with input-output analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 28-48, January.
  2. Bastianoni, Simone & Pulselli, Federico Maria & Tiezzi, Enzo, 2004. "The problem of assigning responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 253-257, July.
  3. Nadim Ahmad & Andrew Wyckoff, 2003. "Carbon Dioxide Emissions Embodied in International Trade of Goods," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2003/15, OECD Publishing.
  4. Munksgaard, Jesper & Pedersen, Klaus Alsted, 2001. "CO2 accounts for open economies: producer or consumer responsibility?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 327-334, March.
  5. Wiedmann, Thomas & Lenzen, Manfred & Turner, Karen & Barrett, John, 2007. "Examining the global environmental impact of regional consumption activities -- Part 2: Review of input-output models for the assessment of environmental impacts embodied in trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 15-26, February.
  6. Machado, Giovani & Schaeffer, Roberto & Worrell, Ernst, 2001. "Energy and carbon embodied in the international trade of Brazil: an input-output approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 409-424, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. De, Fence Janine & McGregor, Peter G & Munday, Max & Swales, J Kim & Turner, Karen, 2010. "Incorporating jurisdiction issues into an analysis of carbon attributable to Welsh final consumption under different economic conditions: an integrated IO and CGE analysis," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2010-16, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  2. Anderson, Blake & M'Gonigle, Michael, 2012. "Does ecological economics have a future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 37-48.
  3. Dieter Helm & Cameron Hepburn & Giovanni Ruta, 2012. "Trade, climate change, and the political game theory of border carbon adjustments," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 368-394, SUMMER.
  4. Druckman, Angela & Jackson, Tim, 2010. "The bare necessities: How much household carbon do we really need?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1794-1804, July.
  5. Michelle Gilmartin & Kim Swales & Karen Turner, 2008. "A Comparison of Results From MRIO and Interregional Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Analyses of the Impacts of a Positive Demand Shock on the ‘CO2 Trade Balance’ Between Scotland and," Working Papers 0808, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
  6. Turner, Karen & Gilmartin, Michelle & McGregor, Peter G. & Swales, J. Kim, 2009. "The added value from adopting a CGE approach to analyse changes in environmental trade balances," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-13, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  7. Gilmartin, Michelle & McGregor, Peter G & Swales, J Kim & Turner, Karen, 2011. "An integrated IO and CGE approach to analysing changes in environmental trade balances," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2011-04, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  8. Christa Court & Stuart McIntyre & Max Munday & Karen Turner, 2009. "Who Creates Waste? Different Perspectives on Waste Attribution in a Regional Economy," Working Papers 200909, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
  9. Druckman, Angela & Jackson, Tim, 2009. "The carbon footprint of UK households 1990-2004: A socio-economically disaggregated, quasi-multi-regional input-output model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2066-2077, May.
  10. Jensen, Christa D. & McIntyre, Stuart & Turner, Karen & Munday, Max, 2009. "Responsibility for regional waste generation: A single region extended input-output analysis with uni-directional trade flows," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-58, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  11. Misato Sato, 2012. "Embodied carbon in trade: a survey of the empirical literature," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 77, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  12. Wiedmann, Thomas, 2009. "A review of recent multi-region input-output models used for consumption-based emission and resource accounting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 211-222, December.
  13. Druckman, Angela & Chitnis, Mona & Sorrell, Steve & Jackson, Tim, 2011. "Missing carbon reductions? Exploring rebound and backfire effects in UK households," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3572-3581, June.

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