Carbon Footprint 1990-2008

//Carbon Footprint 1990-2008

We present now a time series of carbon footprints in the Ranking tab. Our data lets you trace the development of carbon footprints over the period 1990-2008. You need an Adope Flash player installed to see this. This data represents national CO2 emissions corrected for trade and shows that some countries that have had reductions of national emissions have nonetheless increased their carbon footprint, like the UK. You just need to click on the country and you see the time series. You can click several countries after each other to produce a comparative chart. Unfortunately, for most countries, the trend is upward, but there are a number of European nations that have succeeded to stablize and even reduce their carbon footprints over this time period, especially Germany and formerly communist countries. One can only hope that more countries adopt the stringent policies that Germany has adopted and similarily become leaders in renewable energy and energy efficiency without compensating in some other dimension.

The StatPlanet tool we employ also lets you compare per capita emissions and per capita GDP (see figure), and to let this run as a film forward from 1990 to 2008. You can choose whether you prefer the real GDP in constant prices or the GDP corrected for purchasing power parity (PPP). Of course, I would also have liked to let you choose whether you want a linear axis or logarithmic. I personally favour logarithmic axes because this reflects better the real distribution and lets you see differences on the lower end. It also reflects the way economists calculate elasticities.

This wonderful time series is based on a set of extrapolations from the GTAP database in three years along with known macroeconomic data. It was produced by my former colleague Glen Peters in collaboration with Jan Minx, Christopher Weber and Ottmar Edenhofer and introduced in an earlier blog by Jan Minx. The work has been published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

By | 2017-11-08T21:16:08+00:00 October 28th, 2011|New Research|0 Comments

About the Author:

Edgar Hertwich
I am a professor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and currently serve as president of the International Society for Industrial Ecology. I grew up in Braunau, Austria, studied physics at Princeton and Energy & Resources at the University of California, Berkeley. From 2003-2015, I directed the Industrial Ecology Programme of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. My research interests cover life cycle assessment, sustainable consumption and production, trade and environment, risk analysis, and climate mitigation. I am interested in understanding how activities in our society require resources and produce environmental pressures. I would like to better understand the dynamics in our development that affect these driving forces and their resulting environmental pressures, and alternative courses of action that can reduce these pressures. What is the connection between human activities on the one hand and emissions and resource use on the other hand? What are the implications of our current development path? What do we need to change, both in terms of individual actions and policy frameworks, to achieve a more sustainable development.

Publications: See full list here (in Google Scholar)

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