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Examining the global impact of regional consumption activities - part 1: a technical note on combining input-output and ecological footprint analysis

Turner, K. and Lenzen, M. and Weidmann, T. and Barratt, P.J. (2007) Examining the global impact of regional consumption activities - part 1: a technical note on combining input-output and ecological footprint analysis. Ecological Economics, 62 (1). pp. 37-44. ISSN 0921-8009

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Abstract

In recent years there have been a number of attempts to develop a more comprehensive approach to the issue of measuring resource use and/or pollution generation embodied in trade flows, including contributions that combine input-output techniques and Ecological Footprint analysis. In this two-part paper we describe how to enumerate the resource and/or pollution content of inter-regional and inter-national trade flows (Part 1) and we present a literature review of recent methodological and empirical developments (Part 2). It is straightforward in principle to extend the basic input-output approach to capture international trade flows. However, in practice, problems of data availability and compatibility, and of computability of extended input-output matrices, mean that simplifying assumptions are generally applied, but with the implications of these assumptions often not made fully explicit. What appears to be absent from previous applications is an account of the analytical method by which Ecological Footprints should ideally be estimated in an international input-output accounting analysis. This allows an explicit analysis of the problems that prevent the application of the full method and identification of the most appropriate short-cut methods in a transparent way. The objective of this paper is to provide such an account.