Measuring emissions on a consumption basis will produce different numbers for all economies than those reported on under the Kyoto Protocol. For the UK, for example, our consumption emissions in 2004 were 37 per cent higher than the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory which is based on territorial emissions under UN rules.
This suggests that while the UK has made progress in reducing its own carbon dioxide emissions, these reductions have been offset by increased emissions in other countries through the consumption of imported goods and services. Trade data also indicates an increasing dominance of emissions embedded in UK imports from newly emerging economies such as China, India and Russia.
Dr Tommy Wiedmann from SEI, who led the study, said: “Accounting for emissions from a consumption perspective provides insight into the global impacts of local consumption and support for the view that in an increasingly globalised market all economies need to play their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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