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Global transport emissions in the Swedish carbon footprint

Hu, Jinxue, Wood, Richard, Tukker, Arnold, Boonman, Hettie, de Boer, Bertram
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.226 pp. 210-220
air transportation, carbon dioxide, carbon footprint, freight, greenhouse gas emissions, household equipment, public services and goods, supply chain, vehicles (equipment), Sweden
Transport is perhaps one of the more difficult sources of emissions to address. Whilst opportunities are available for electrification of road vehicle fleets, air transport and the long distance freight of goods are more challenging. Further, due to the fragmentation of global supply chains, where materials can cross the world multiple times before ending up with a final consumer, it is important to understand the contribution of emissions caused by transport, and especially international transport, in relation to the consumption of goods and services. This paper provides evidence based insights into the contribution of CO2 emissions from transport to consumption footprints in Sweden. We give an extensive discussion of the treatment of transport in multi-regional input-output based approaches which can give insight into how different transport emissions can be accounted for. Secondly, we estimate the amount of CO2 emissions in the footprint coming from transport for Sweden. Results show that 14% (12 Mton) of the total Swedish CO2 footprint (84 Mton) was coming from transport activities occurring in the global supply chain. Most of these emissions were caused by transport in supply chains of consumed goods and services such as construction, household appliances and motor vehicles (8.5 Mton). However, the final consumption of package holidays and flights form the single biggest category with 3.5 Mton of the total 12 Mton CO2 of embodied transport emissions. With direct household emissions of vehicle transport in Sweden being 8.5 Mton, the emissions embodied in goods and services (excluding the package holidays and flights) are nearly equivalent to all the private vehicle transport of Swedish citizens.