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A first empirical comparison of energy Footprints embodied in trade -- MRIO versus PLUM

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  • Wiedmann, Thomas

Abstract

The Ecological Footprint as an indicator that accounts for human demand on global bioproductivity sets out to quantify the impacts associated with consumption in a given country, including the impacts associated with trade. The National Footprint Accounts (NFA) by Global Footprint Network (GFN) calculate trade-embodied Footprints by multiplying yield and embodied energy factors with mass volumes of traded goods in a "Product Land Use Matrix (PLUM)". This article compares energy Footprints embodied in trade from and to the United Kingdom in 2002 as calculated by the NFA-PLUM with the results from a recently developed multi-region input-output model (MRIO) for the UK. Although totals for imports and exports are comparable, breaking down the results by economic sectors reveals large differences and hardly any correlation between the two methods. The omission of trade in services (especially transport services) and upstream impacts of energy goods (fossil fuels) and the use of inappropriate embodied energy factors in the NFA-PLUM method are identified as the main reasons for these differences. In the light of the results it seems that a comprehensive Footprint account of trade can better be achieved with an input-output based approach. I conclude that MRIO models - once fully developed - will be particularly suitable in the future to estimate the Ecological Footprints of imports and exports of nations with the possibility to track their origin via inter-industry linkages, international supply chains and multi-national trade flows.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:7:p:1975-1990
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    3. Yang, Jin & Chen, Bin, 2014. "Carbon footprint estimation of Chinese economic sectors based on a three-tier model," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 499-507.
    4. Sato, Misato, 2014. "Product level embodied carbon flows in bilateral trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 106-117.
    5. Mi, Zhifu & Zhang, Yunkun & Guan, Dabo & Shan, Yuli & Liu, Zhu & Cong, Ronggang & Yuan, Xiao-Chen & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2016. "Consumption-based emission accounting for Chinese cities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 1073-1081.
    6. Zhang, Bo & Chen, Z.M. & Xia, X.H. & Xu, X.Y. & Chen, Y.B., 2013. "The impact of domestic trade on China's regional energy uses: A multi-regional input–output modeling," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1169-1181.
    7. Teixidó-Figueras, Jordi & Duro, Juan Antonio, 2015. "The building blocks of International Ecological Footprint inequality: A Regression-Based Decomposition," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 30-39.
    8. Tang, Xu & Snowden, Simon & Höök, Mikael, 2013. "Analysis of energy embodied in the international trade of UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 418-428.
    9. Schmidt, Stephan & Weigt, Hannes, 2013. "A Review on Energy Consumption from a Socio-Economic Perspective: Reduction through Energy Efficiency and Beyond," Working papers 2013/15, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    10. Fahimnia, Behnam & Sarkis, Joseph & Davarzani, Hoda, 2015. "Green supply chain management: A review and bibliometric analysis," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 101-114.
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    12. Jin, Wei & Xu, Linyu & Yang, Zhifeng, 2009. "Modeling a policy making framework for urban sustainability: Incorporating system dynamics into the Ecological Footprint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2938-2949, October.
    13. Lan, Jun & Malik, Arunima & Lenzen, Manfred & McBain, Darian & Kanemoto, Keiichiro, 2016. "A structural decomposition analysis of global energy footprints," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 436-451.
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    18. Zhang, Bo & Qiao, H. & Chen, B., 2015. "Embodied energy uses by China’s four municipalities: A study based on multi-regional input–output model," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 318(C), pages 138-149.
    19. Pablo-Romero, María del P. & Sánchez-Braza, Antonio, 2017. "The changing of the relationships between carbon footprints and final demand: Panel data evidence for 40 major countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 8-20.
    20. 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.
    21. Chen, G. & Chen, B. & Zhou, H. & Dai, P., 2013. "Life cycle carbon emission flow analysis for electricity supply system: A case study of China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1276-1284.
    22. Decun Wu & Jinping Liu, 2016. "Multi-Regional Input-Output (MRIO) Study of the Provincial Ecological Footprints and Domestic Embodied Footprints Traded among China’s 30 Provinces," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(12), pages 1-31, December.
    23. Thomas Wiedmann & John Barrett, 2010. "A Review of the Ecological Footprint Indicator—Perceptions and Methods," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(6), pages 1-49, June.

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