The Carbon Footprint of Capital

We think of capital, the assets we use in production, as heavy: machines, buildings, infrastructure, trucks and railroads. Being composed mostly of cement and steel, we would expect their production to cause a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. In a new paper, we offer a first detailed analysis of the carbon footprint of gross fixed capital formation across countries and sectors. The picture that emerges is interesting because of some small surprises.

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Breathe easier with renewable energy

If we want to limit air pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting unmet demand in developing countries, renewable electricity is a promising option, as our new research shows.

By Edgar Hertwich, Thomas Gibon and Anders Arvesen, NTNU

The use of fossil energy sources has made it possible for cities, population and prosperity to grow. It has also […]

By |October 14th, 2014|New Research|0 Comments
  • Carbon footprint of hydro power Carbon footprint of hydro power

    Carbon footprint of hydro power

Carbon footprint of hydro power

I took a deep breath after a brisk climb up the soft hill near the border to Sweden. The sun peaked out under the clouds and the light was beautifully reflected by the water of Nesjøen, while reindeer was munching away on delicious blueberries a little further down the ridge. The reservoir below contrasted to the barren land on the other side, making it more tranquil and interesting at […]

  • Rich Pressure Poor Ecosystems Rich Pressure Poor Ecosystems

    Rich Pressure Poor Ecosystems

Rich Pressure Poor Ecosystems

I just returned from my weekly trip to the supermarket: in addition to Kenyan roses, Brazilian melons, Israeli oranges, Dutch tomatoes, Kiwis from New Zealand, and potatoes from Saudi Arabia (!), I have, for the first time, found minced beef from Botswana, sold for just over half the price of the Norwegian one. We have over the years become accustomed to the increasing variety and prettiness of food we find on supermarket shelves, regardless […]

  • Extinction footprints Extinction footprints

    Extinction footprints

Extinction footprints

It is a sad result of human civilisation that we are driving other species into extinction. A new study highlights the main driving forces – rich countries’ consumption.

Humans have always affected their environment. Environmental history is littered with stories of modifications of the environment to enhance the growth of fruit-bearing plants and the impact of our hunting. In the Americas, the late arrival of humans resulted in an extinction of most large game – and […]

  • PC and TV purchases shape EEE carbon footprint PC and TV purchases shape EEE carbon footprint

    PC and TV purchases shape EEE carbon footprint

PC and TV purchases shape EEE carbon footprint

The rapid proliferation of electronic entertainment and communication equipment has eclipsed traditional household appliances like washing machines and refrigerators as the equipment with the highest residential carbon footprint; apart from heating, hot water and lighting.

The Norwegian state broadcaster sent a wonderful story on our new study: a home electronics seller is interviewed, listing the number of TVs his customers have in a household: in the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom and each of the […]

  • Carbon Footprint 1990-2008 Carbon Footprint 1990-2008

    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 […]

Emissions from consumption may offset reported carbon emission reductions in industrialized countries

An increasing share of global emissions is from the production of internationally traded goods and services, according to a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Due to current reporting practices, this has allowed some countries to increase their carbon footprints while reporting stabilized emissions.  

If you buy a sweater or a refrigerator, emissions from the production processes are allocated to the producing country. […]

The Carbon Footprint of Municipalities

A consumption-based account of greenhouse gas emissions reveals true climate impacts of public services.

Analysis based on the environmental impacts of consumption often focuses on household consumption. Some consumption, however, is provided by public authorities and paid for through taxes, not prices. Education, health care, elderly care, street cleaning and – important for Norway! – snow plowing are examples for that. What are the environmental impacts of these activities. In a series of papers, my […]

Carbon Footprint – Updated

A recent update of our study on the carbon footprint of nations highlights the role of China, Russia, the USA and the EU.


Steven Davis and Ken Caldeira have just published an analysis of the carbon footprint of nations using the GTAP 7 database, allowing for a comparison of the years 2004 and 2001. The paper published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of […]