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Measuring progress towards carbon reduction in the UK

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Druckman, A. & Bradley, P. & Papathanasopoulou, E. & Jackson, T., 2008. "Measuring progress towards carbon reduction in the UK," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(4), pages 594-604, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:66:y:2008:i:4:p:594-604
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Lahr & Louis de Mesnard, 2004. "Biproportional Techniques in Input-Output Analysis: Table Updating and Structural Analysis," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 115-134.
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    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Angela Druckman & T. Jackson & E. Papathanasopoulou & P. Bradley, "undated". "Attributing Carbon Emissions to Functional Household Needs: a Pilot Framework For the UK," Regional and Urban Modeling 283600026, EcoMod.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, Blake & M'Gonigle, Michael, 2012. "Does ecological economics have a future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 37-48.
    2. 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.
    3. Misato Sato, 2014. "Embodied Carbon In Trade: A Survey Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 831-861, December.
    4. 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).
    5. Chitnis, Mona & Sorrell, Steve & Druckman, Angela & Firth, Steven K. & Jackson, Tim, 2014. "Who rebounds most? Estimating direct and indirect rebound effects for different UK socioeconomic groups," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 12-32.
    6. 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 the Rest," Working Papers 0808, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    7. Karen Turner & Michelle Gilmartin & Peter G. McGregor & J. Kim Swales, 2012. "An integrated IO and CGE approach to analysing changes in environmental trade balances," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(1), pages 161-180, March.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Sang Won Yoon, 2016. "Is Current Trade Pattern Between the Developed and Developing Countries Environmentally Sustainable?," International Journal of Economics and Finance, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 8(5), pages 138-150, May.
    11. Wiedmann, Thomas, 2009. "A first empirical comparison of energy Footprints embodied in trade -- MRIO versus PLUM," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1975-1990, May.
    12. Sato, Misato, 2014. "Product level embodied carbon flows in bilateral trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 106-117.
    13. Lutz Sager, 2017. "Income inequality and carbon consumption: evidence from environmental Engel curves," GRI Working Papers 285, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    14. Wei JIANG, 2016. "Systemic Research on the Green Development in Western China: A Non-Technological Innovation Perspective," Chinese Journal of Urban and Environmental Studies (CJUES), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 4(02), pages 1-25, June.
    15. 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.
    16. 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).
    17. repec:eee:touman:v:55:y:2016:i:c:p:326-336 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Chitnis, Mona & Sorrell, Steve & Druckman, Angela & Firth, Steven K. & Jackson, Tim, 2013. "Turning lights into flights: Estimating direct and indirect rebound effects for UK households," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 234-250.
    19. Christa Court & Stuart McIntyre & Max Munday & Karen Turner, 2009. "Who Creates Waste? Different Perspectives on Waste Attribution in a Regional Economy," Working Papers Working Paper 2009-09, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    20. repec:eee:touman:v:45:y:2014:i:c:p:16-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:574-587 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. 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.
    23. repec:rri:wpaper:200909 is not listed on IDEAS

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