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A three-perspective view of greenhouse gas emission responsibilities in New Zealand

  • Andrew, Robbie
  • Forgie, Vicky
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    While responsibility for the environmental impacts of production has been commonly assigned to producers, production is driven by consumer demand, and it is valid to question whether impacts should instead be assigned to consumers. However, in each of these approaches producers and consumers either bear the full burden of responsibility or none at all. An example of this is the Kyoto Protocol, where all greenhouse gas emissions are assigned to the producer and no consideration is given to where goods are finally consumed. Rather than taking the conventional producer or consumer responsibility approach, a third perspective is possible in which responsibility is shared. We use input-output analysis to apply all three of these responsibility perspectives to New Zealand's domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Our main findings from the shared responsibility approach are that New Zealand producers are responsible for 44% of domestic emissions, New Zealand consumers take 28%, and 27% are exported. A shared responsibility approach appears to distribute the burden of responsibility and associated liability between parties more fairly, and is likely to be more widely acceptable than pure producer or consumer perspectives.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDY-4S7S1BF-2/2/ea6aa88e4bd4239ea24b1893e24f2ed4
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1-2 (December)
    Pages: 194-204

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2008:i:1-2:p:194-204
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. Ayres, Robert U & Kneese, Allen V, 1969. "Production , Consumption, and Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 282-97, June.
    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. 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.
    4. Herman E. Daly, 1968. "On Economics as a Life Science," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 392.
    5. Lenzen, Manfred & Murray, Joy & Sack, Fabian & Wiedmann, Thomas, 2007. "Shared producer and consumer responsibility -- Theory and practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 27-42, February.
    6. Bicknell, Kathryn B. & Ball, Richard J. & Cullen, Ross & Bigsby, Hugh R., 1998. "New methodology for the ecological footprint with an application to the New Zealand economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 149-160, November.
    7. 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.
    8. Leontief, Wassily, 1970. "Environmental Repercussions and the Economic Structure: An Input-Output Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(3), pages 262-71, August.
    9. Erik Dietzenbacher & Jesper Stage, 2006. "Mixing oil and water? Using hybrid input-output tables in a Structural decomposition analysis," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 85-95.
    10. Hubacek, Klaus & Giljum, Stefan, 2003. "Applying physical input-output analysis to estimate land appropriation (ecological footprints) of international trade activities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 137-151, February.
    11. Lenzen, Manfred, 2003. "Environmentally important paths, linkages and key sectors in the Australian economy," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-34, March.
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