How responsible is a region for its carbon emissions? An empirical general equilibrium analysis
CO2 reduction targets tend to be set in terms of the amount of pollution emitted within a given region. However, there is increasing public and policy interest in the notion of a carbon footprint, or CO2 generated globally to serve final consumption demand within a region. This raises an issue in that, despite the local economic benefits, the latter involves effectively absolving the region of responsibility for CO2 generated in the production of exports. Using a CGE model of Wales, we illustrate by simulating an increase in export demand for the output of an industry (metal production) that is both carbon and export intensive and generally produces to meet intermediate rather than final demands. The key result is economic growth accompanied by a widening gap between regional CO2 generation and the carbon footprint, raising questions as to the identification of precisely ‘whose’ carbon footprint these additional emissions should be allocated to.
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