A review of recent multi-region input-output models used for consumption-based emission and resource accounting
The interest in consumption-based emission and resource accounting has grown significantly. Many studies juxtapose consumer emissions (carbon footprint) and producer (territorial) emissions of greenhouse gases in order to demonstrate the effects of trade on the national emission budget. To this end, a respectable number of studies have been undertaken worldwide in order to estimate emissions embedded in international trade of numerous countries and world regions. Input-output approaches, and increasingly multi-region input-output (MRIO) models, are commonly chosen as they provide an appropriate methodological framework for complete carbon footprint estimates at the national and supra-national level. With increasing processing capabilities of computers and a wider availability of economic accounts, environmental accounts and trade data such models are now being implemented on a wide scale. After a brief overview of salient single-region input-output studies I provide an in-depth review of the most recent multi-region input-output models used for the purpose of consumption-based environmental accounting. The main methodological features and important results are described for around twenty studies covering the years 2007 to 2009. This is followed by a detailed review of studies dealing with uncertainty in MRIO analysis, an area which has not received a lot of attention so far. I conclude that further research is mainly needed in two areas, a) improvements in data availability and quality and b) improvements in the accuracy of MRIO modelling.
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