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Carbon footprints and embodied carbon have a strong methodological foundation and provide valuable input into policy formation. The widespread use of carbon footprints using existing knowledge needs to be encouraged and even regulated. At the product level, carbon footprints can empower consumers to shape their own climate friendly behaviour and help governments design policies that do not give the wrong incentives. Companies can use carbon footprints to reduce exposure to carbon prices or highlight the positive actions they have taken. Cities and regions can use carbon footprints to implement local policies that help meet overarching national objectives. National carbon footprints can help design equitable and efficient climate agreements that avoid shifting problems to other administrative territories. Further advances can provide strong interdisciplinary links between the physical carbon-cycle, emission drivers, and policy at a variety of scales.

Glen P Peters