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