Reply to 'Consistency of technology-adjusted consumption-based accounting'

  • Astrid Kander, Magnus Jiborn, Daniel D. Moran, Thomas O. Wiedmann. Climate Nature Change, Vol. 6/Issue 8.

    Abstract:

    Domingos et al. point out that the technology-adjusted consumption-based accounting (TCBA) principle that we proposed in a recent Letter does not satisfy a condition called scale invariance. This is correct. Scale invariance means that, for any union of countries, the sum of carbon responsibility for all countries in the union should equal the carbon responsibility of the union if treated as a country. TCBA fails to satisfy this requirement since it treats emissions in imports and exports differently. Emissions embodied in imports are added to a country's carbon inventory based on the emissions intensities in the actual producer countries, but emissions in exports are subtracted based on the average emissions intensities for the relevant product groups on the world market. For the entire world, export emissions equals import emissions, so the additivity condition is satisfied, i.e. the sum of national emissions equals global emissions. But for smaller groups of countries, for instance the EU, results will differ depending on whether trade between group members is regarded as foreign or domestic. Thus, under TCBA, the sum of carbon responsibility for all EU member states, for example, will not equal the carbon responsibility of the EU treated as one country. To avoid this, Domingos et al. suggest that carbon emissions embodied in imports should also be calculated based on world-average emissions intensities.

  • Last update: 02 June 2017
  • Author: Astrid Kander, Magnus Jiborn, Daniel D. Moran, Thomas O. Wiedmann