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Implications of a consumer-based perspective for the estimation of GHG emissions. The illustrative case of Luxembourg

Caro, Dario, Rugani, Benedetto, Pulselli, Federico Maria, Benetto, Enrico
The Science of the total environment 2015 v.508 pp. 67-75
case studies, data collection, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, guidelines, inventories, models, system boundary, Luxembourg
The Kyoto protocol has established an accounting system for national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to a geographic criterion (producer perspective), such as that proposed by the IPCC guidelines for national GHG inventories. However, the representativeness of this approach is still being debated, because the role of final consumers (consumer perspective) is not considered in the emission allocation system. This paper explores the usefulness of a hybrid analysis, including input–output (IO) and process inventory data, as a complementary tool for estimating and allocating national GHG emissions according to both consumer- and producer-based perspectives. We assess the historical GHG impact profile (from 1995 to 2009) of Luxembourg, which is taken as a case study. The country's net consumption over time is estimated to generate about 28,700GgCO2e/year on average. Compared to the conventional IPCC inventory, the IO-based framework typically shows much higher emission estimations. This relevant discrepancy is mainly due to the different points of view obtained from the hybrid model, in particular with regard to the contribution of imported goods and services. Detailing the GHG inventory by economic activity and considering a wider system boundary make the hybrid IO method advantageous as compared to the IPCC approach, but its effective implementation is still limited by the relatively complex modeling system, as well as the lack of coordination and scarce availability of datasets at the national level.