Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Carbon Trust maps emissions 'flow' of traded goods

Very interesting map of carbon emissions....Also interested to see the reference to 'Britains borders' in the passage below*. Carbon emissions dont of course acknowledge national borders - the boundary/boundaries of carbon emissions systems is effectively fixed by human choices such as those who do the carbon accounting for the governments and various other organisations and the choices they make may not be particularly rational. Who is responsible for imported goods carbon emissions - those who demand and consume the goods or those who produce and supply them? Or should the emissions be split between them? How much does or should it matter?

...All of which is interesting for carbon geeks like me. But in terms of policy implications, it's the prediction of UK's future carbon footprint that raises the biggest flag. According to the Carbon Trust's estimates, the UK's total footprint, including imported goods, will fall only slightly by the mid 2020s, even if all of its major trading partners hit their stated carbon reduction targets. If major exporters such as China, India, Russia and Brazil achieve only half the expected level of decarbonisation, the UK's footprint will actually be higher in 2025 than it is today, despite substantial savings within Britain's own borders*.

As Guy Shrubsole of the Public Interest Research Centre put it: "Until government starts accounting for outsourced emissions officially, it's continuing to tell a convenient lie about the true scale of our carbon addiction."

Carbon Trust maps emissions 'flow' of traded goods Duncan Clark Environment guardian.co.uk

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