Constructing long-term (1948-2011) consumption-based emissions inventories

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  • Zhiyong Yang
  • Wenjie Dong
  • Ting Wei
  • Yuqing Fu
  • Xuefeng Cu
  • Jieming Chou


Accompanying the boom in the global economy, CO2 emissions have soared over the past several decades, with the developing world exhibiting higher emission growth rates than the developed world. Emissions transfers between regions, which represent a significant fraction of total emissions, are assumed to be a primary factor contributing to this difference. It is important to understand these transfer figures and the resulting consumption-based emissions in order to evaluate the emissions drivers and establish climate policies. Existing studies, however, have merely estimated figures over a 20 years span (post-1990) using a traditional input- output analysis (IOA) framework. To broaden the data coverage (to pre-1990) of these transfer figures and to further analyze their impacts on-total emissions in the long term, a new model called the Long-term Consumption-based Accounting model (LCBA), which is directly based on statistics, is developed to span the period from 1948 to 2011. The results are consistent with the magnitudes and trends of existing studies over the validation (post-1990) period. We use Monte Carlo methods to calculate upper and lower bounds on the LCBA for each country and year, and find that 3 existing time series are almost fully included within these boundaries from 1990. Furthermore, the LCBA model is succinct enough to be easily expanded for future GHG estimations or to analyze other ecological footprints related to "the flow of materials". It can be assumed that the soaring emissions transfers will seriously jeopardize the current climate policies such as Kyoto Protocol. The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) under which all parties are legally bound will require a consumption-based accounting method together with the territorial one in order to achieve an equitable agreement. However, more researches are still needed to facilitate the use of these figures to better support decision making. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)793-800
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2015
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed