Carbon dioxide emissions associated with UK consumption increase

Jul 04, 2008

Researchers have discovered that carbon dioxide emissions associated with UK consumption increased by 115 million tonnes (18 per cent), between 1992 and 2004.

The results are an outcome of a research project undertaken by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) part of the Department of Biology at the University of York, and the Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) at the University of Sydney on behalf of Defra.

A ground-breaking new modelling approach, called multi-region input-output analysis, was developed specifically for the UK and thoroughly tested for its robustness.

This study provides an insight into the impacts of all the goods and services consumed by British households, including those emissions that occur in countries exporting to the UK, which are usually excluded from standard emissions analysis.

Measuring emissions on a consumption basis will produce different numbers for all economies than those reported on under the Kyoto Protocol. For the UK, for example, our consumption emissions in 2004 were 37 per cent higher than the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory which is based on territorial emissions under UN rules.

Carbon dioxide emissions embedded in imports went up from 35 per cent of UK emissions in 1992 to 67 per cent in 2004, while those embedded in exports increased from 31 per cent to 45 per cent of emissions over the same period. This suggests that while the UK has made progress in reducing its own carbon dioxide emissions, these reductions have been offset by increased emissions in other countries through the consumption of imported goods and services. Trade data also indicates an increasing dominance of emissions embedded in UK imports from newly emerging economies such as China, India and Russia.

Dr Tommy Wiedmann from SEI, who led the study, said: "Accounting for emissions from a consumption perspective provides insight into the global impacts of local consumption. It gives support for the view that in an increasingly globalised market all economies need to play their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Source: University of York

Explore further: NOAA establishes 'tipping points' for sea level rise related flooding

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rubber technology important in reducing CO2 emissions

Sep 23, 2014

Despite numerous measures taken by manufacturers, the worldwide level of CO2 car emissions is still increasing at an alarming rate. The automotive sector is working hard to develop lightweight constructions, ...

Ships without skippers

Sep 08, 2014

A 200 metre long vessel moves slowly across the dark sea surface. There is no one at the wheel. It is quiet on the bridge. There are no signs of life in the engine room or on deck. A scene from a horror film ...

Map reveals worldwide impacts of climate change

Jul 18, 2014

Scientists from the University of Southampton have helped to create a new map, which shows the impact climate change could have on the whole planet by the end of the century, if carbon emissions continue to increase.

Recommended for you

UN sends team to clean up Bangladesh oil spill

2 hours ago

The United Nations said Thursday it has sent a team of international experts to Bangladesh to help clean up the world's largest mangrove forest, more than a week after it was hit by a huge oil spill.

How will climate change transform agriculture?

3 hours ago

Climate change impacts will require major but very uncertain transformations of global agriculture systems by mid-century, according to new research from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Report: Radiation leak at nuclear dump was small

3 hours ago

A final report by independent researchers shows the radiation leak from the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico was small and localized.

Confucian thought and China's environmental dilemmas

7 hours ago

Conventional wisdom holds that China - the world's most populous country - is an inveterate polluter, that it puts economic goals above conservation in every instance. So China's recent moves toward an apparent ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.