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The structure, drivers and policy implications of the European carbon footprint

Wood, R; Neuhoff, K; Moran, D; Simas, M; Grubb, M; Stadler, K; (2019) The structure, drivers and policy implications of the European carbon footprint. Climate Policy 10.1080/14693062.2019.1639489. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Policy to reduce the European Union’s (EU) carbon footprint needs to be grounded in an understanding of the structure and drivers of both the domestic and internationally traded components. Here we analyse consumption-based emission accounts (for the main greenhouse gases (GHGs)) for the EU, focusing on understanding sectoral contributions and what changes have been observed over the last two decades, including the role of trade. The EU28 has reduced its overall GHG footprint by 8% over the two decades, mainly due to the use of more efficient technology, both at home and abroad. Emissions embodied in imports, which make up one-third of the EU28 GHG footprint, grew strongly until 2008 but have stabilized in volume since. Foreign production has been more emissions intensive than if goods were produced in the EU. However, the overall contribution of this effect is small, offset by much larger (global) technological improvements and growths in consumption. Hence the focus should now be on accounting and responsibility for enacting change, not the global impact of trade. Finally, the inclusion of non-CO2 GHGs in the analysis shows their importance in the traded element, particularly for the mining and agricultural sectors.

Type: Article
Title: The structure, drivers and policy implications of the European carbon footprint
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2019.1639489
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2019.1639489
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: MRIO; carbon footprint; embodied carbon; trade; EU
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10080568
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