An input-output carbon accounting tool : with carbon footprints estimates for the UK and Scotland

Turner, Karen and Yamano, Norihiko and Druckman, Angela and Ha, Soo Jung and De Fence, Janine and McIntyre, Stuart and Munday, Max (2011) An input-output carbon accounting tool : with carbon footprints estimates for the UK and Scotland. Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, Special E (1). pp. 6-20. ISSN 2046-5378

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Abstract

In 2008, the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) awarded six Climate Change Leadership Fellowships (CCLFs) to address key research issues and innovative approaches in mitigating/or adapting to climate change. Of the six Fellowships, led by Dr Karen Turner (University of Stirling, formerly of the University of Strathclyde) we have engaged in a programme of communication with the policy and wider user community, primarily through a series of ESRC funded public seminars and workshops. One outcome of these activities has been the identification of a need to develop a user friendly, systematic and transparent accounting system that allows examination of the structure of pollution problems to be examined from a range of potential policy perspectives. Thus a key aim of this Climate Change Leadership Fellowship has been the development of a basic pollution accounting framework, based on the input-output (IO) methodology now widely adopted in both the academic literature and the policy advisory communities, and applied here to the case of CO2. This research has involved collaboration with colleagues at the Universities of Stirling, Strathclyde, Cardiff, Surrey, West Virginia and also at the OECD, the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Scottish Government, a number of whom are among the co-authors of this paper. The purpose of this paper is to present the IO pollution accounting tool developed under the Fellowship, with case studies of carbon dioxide emissions at the UK national and Scottish regional levels. It is important to note that the development of the accounting tool relies on data for a single year (2004), some of which has had to be estimated in the absence of official statistics (such as UK IO tables in the analytical format). If there is a need to conduct pollution accounting on a regular basis, to form the basis for official indicators of sustainability, public investment in appropriate data provision will be a necessity.