A series of first-ever maps shows regional-scale differences in carbon footprints in the EU. The maps can help guide local and regional policies designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. In theory, if a city or region has policies that encourage biking instead of driving, using such consumption-monitoring tools would make the change in consumption patterns visible, with less car fuel consumed and and a drop in consumption-based transport emissions

The study on “Mapping the carbon footprint of EU regions”describes how consumer expenditure surveys and environmental and trade details were used to calculate the first-ever carbon footprints for 177 regions in 27 EU countries. Please cite the journal study as the primary source if you plan to use the maps or any of the results (for interactive maps see here).

The figure on the right measures the household carbon footprint of EU region on per capita basis. Our analysis highlights the spatial differences of consumption-based emissions with subnational ranges varying widely between 0.6 and 6.5 tons CO2-equivalents per capita (tCO2e/cap). The emission differences across regions suggest notable differences with regards to climate change responsibility. This was a key contribution for the incorporation of consumption-based accounting into local decision-making.

In addition, our region-level study evaluates driving forces of carbon footprints through a set of socio-economic, geographic and technical factors. Income is singled out as the most important driver for a region’s carbon footprint, although its explanatory power varies significantly across consumption domains. Additional factors that stand out as important on the regional level include household size, urban-rural typology, level of education, expenditure patterns, temperature, resource availability and carbon intensity of the electricity mix.

Data Sources

This work is an output of the EU FP7 GLAMURS project. Regional consumption inventories are based on  Household Budget Surveys collected from National Statistic Offices (and harmonised by Eurostat).

Data on environmental extensions is based on the EXIOBASE database, version 2.3. The EXIOBASE database was constructed in the EU FP7 CREEA project. EXIOBASE is a multiregional input-output database  describing the world economy in 2007 at the detail of 43 countries, 5 rest-of-the-world regions and 200 product sectors.
Media coverage:
The IndependentDaily MailSciences et Avenir, ABC.esGemini


PhD Candidate Diana Ivanova, PhD Candidate diana.n.ivanova@ntnu.no

December 17, 2017

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