The literature is abundant with studies analyzing inequality in carbon emissions at the macroeconomic level, but very limited at the household level. The issue of household carbon footprint inequality is relevant in mitigating climate change through curbing household emissions. This study investigates household carbon footprint inequality in the Philippines and decomposes it into consumption sources applying the standard method used in analyzing income inequality. Results show that the richest 20% of the population has an aggregate share of more than 50% in the total household emissions. Between 2000 and 2006, the Gini coefficient of carbon footprint increases from 0.455 to 0.475. This implies that there is a high and worsening carbon footprint disparity among Filipino households. This disparity in emissions is more pronounced among rich and poor households relative to the middle-income households depicting a non-monotonous kind of relationship between household income and carbon emissions. This suggests that variations in lifestyle and consumption preferences determine overall household emissions inequality. In addition, the decomposition analysis suggests that inequality in carbon footprint is mainly driven by energy-intensive consumption such as fuel, light and transportation. At any affluence level, promotion of less carbon-intensive or energy-efficient consumption allows for the reduction of not just the emissions level, but also the disparity in household carbon footprint.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Carbon footprint refers to the CO2 emissions associated with households’ consumption with various goods and services. This definition has been used by Druckman and Jackson (2009) and is in line with the definition suggested by Wiedmann and Minx (2007), Weidema et al. (2008) and Minx et al. (2009). In analyzing carbon footprint inequality, the unit of measurement used in this paper is CO2 emissions. The term carbon footprint, carbon emissions, CO2 emissions are used interchangeably in the discussion, but they mean the same thing. It captures the embodied CO2 emissions in household consumption.
Kakwani index was originally used to measure progressivity in taxation and public expenditure and was later on applied to equity issues in healthcare expenditures (Kakwani et al. 1997).
If we rank households based on emissions and compute the degree of inequality, we are getting the “simple” Gini index of household emissions and not the concentration.
Albert JR, Ramos AP (2010) Examining recent trends in poverty, inequality, and vulnerability. PIDS Policy Notes 2010(03). Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/ris/pn/pidspn1003.pdf
Alcantara V, Duro JA (2004) Inequality of energy intensities across OECD countries: a note. Energy Policy 32(11):1257–1260
Asian Development Bank (ADB) (2018). Poverty in the Philippines. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.adb.org/countries/philippines/poverty
Baiocchi G, Minx J, Hubacek K (2010) The Impact of social factors and consumer behavior on carbon dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom. J Ind Ecol 14(1):50–72
Bin S, Dowlatabadi H (2005) Consumer lifestyle approach to US energy use and the related CO2 emissions. Energy Policy 33(2):197–208
Boyce JK (1994) Inequality as a case of environmental degradation. Ecol Econ 11(3):169–178
Cantore N, Padilla E (2010) Equality and CO2 emissions distribution in climate change integrated assessment modelling. Energy 35(1):298–313
Clarke-Sather A, Qu J, Wang Q, Zeng J, Li Y (2011) Carbon inequality at the sub-national scale: a case study of provincial-level inequality in CO2 emissions in China 1997–2007. Energy Policy 39(9):5420–5428
Deaton A (1992) Understanding Consumption. Oxford University Press, Oxford
Druckman A, Jackson T (2009) The carbon footprint of UK households 1990–2004: a socio-economically disaggregated, quasi-multi-regional input–output model. Ecol Econ 68(7):2066–2077
Duro JA (2012) On the automatic application of inequality indexes in the analysis of the international distribution of environmental indicators. Ecol Econ 76:1–7
Duro JA, Padilla E (2006) International inequalities in per capita CO2 emissions: a decomposition methodology by Kaya factors. Energy Econ 28(2):170–187
Duro JA, Teixidó-Figueras J (2013) Ecological Footprint Inequality across countries: the role of environment intensity, income and interaction effects. Ecol Econ 93:34–41
Ericta C, Fabian E (2009) A Documentation of the Philippines’ Family Income and Expenditure Survey. Philippine Institute for Development Studies. Retrieved from https://core.kmi.open.ac.uk/download/pdf/6412342.pdf on Oct. 19, 2014.
Greenpeace Philippines (2018) Electric Jeepney: Pilipinas Go Renewable. Retrieved from https://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/ph/Global/seasia/binaries/2007/7/e-jeeps-brochure.pdf on Dec 15, 2018.
Groot L (2010) Carbon Lorenz curves. Resour Energy Econ 32(1):45–64
Grunewald N, Klasen S, Martínez-Zarzoso I, Muris C (2017) The trade-off between income inequality and carbon dioxide emissions. Ecol Econ 142(2017):249–256
Hedenus F, Azar C (2005) Estimates of trends in global income and resource inequalities. Ecol Econ 55(3):351–364
Heil MT, Wodon QT (1997) Inequality in CO2 emissions between poor and rich countries. J Environ Dev 6(4):426–452
Heil MT, Wodon QT (2000) Future inequality in CO2 emissions and the impact of abatement proposals. Environ Resour Econ 17(2):163–181
International Energy Agency (IEA) (2014) CO2 emissions statistics. Retrieved August 2, 2014, from https://www.iea.org/statistics/topics/CO2emissions/
INDC Philippines (2018) Intended nationally determined contributions. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Philippines/1/Philippines%20-%20Final%20INDC%20submission.pdf
Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) (2013) IPCC—task force on national greenhouse gas inventories. Retrieved August 16, 2013, from https://www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/public/gl/invs1.html
Irfany IM, Klasen S (2016) Inequality in emissions: evidence from Indonesian household. Environ Econ Policy Stud 18(4):459–483
Jakob M, Jan CS, Stephan K, Jann L, Nicole G, Inmaculada M-Z, Sebastian R, Ottmar E (2014) Feasible mitigation actions in developing countries. Nat Clim Change 4:961–968
Kakwani N, Wagstaff A, van Doorslaer E (1997) Socioeconomic inequalities in health: measurement, computation, and statistical inference. J Econ 77(1):87–103
Klasen S (1997) Poverty, inequality and deprivation in South Africa: an analysis of the 1993 SALDRU survey. Soc Indic Res 41:51–94
Kok R, Benders RMJ, Moll HC (2006) Measuring the environmental load of household consumption using some methods based on input–output energy analysis: a comparison of methods and a discussion of results. Energy Policy 34(17):2744–2761
Lee H-L (2008) An emissions data base for integrated assessment of climate change policy using GTAP. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from https://www.gtap.agecon.purdue.edu/resources/res_display.asp?RecordID=1143
Lenzen M (1998) Energy and greenhouse gas cost of living for Australia during 1993/94. Energy 23(6):497–516
Lerman RI, Yitzhaki S (1985) Income inequality effects by income source: a new approach and applications to the United States. Rev Econ Stat 67(1):151–156
Lopez-Feldman A (2006) Decomposing inequality and obtaining marginal effects. State J 6(1):106–111
Minx JC, Wiedmann T, Wood R, Peters GP, Lenzen M, Owen A, Ackerman F (2009) Input–output analysis and carbon footprinting: an overview of applications. Econ Syst Res 21(3):187–216
Padilla E, Duro JA (2013) Explanatory factors of CO2 per capita emission inequality in the European Union. Energy Policy 62:1320–1328
Padilla E, Serrano A (2006) Inequality in CO2 emissions across countries and its relationship with income inequality: a distributive approach. Energy Policy 34(14):1762–1772
Parikh J, Panda M, Murthy NS (1997) Consumption patterns by income groups and carbon-dioxide implications for India: 1990–2010. International Journal of Global Energy Issues 9(4–6). Retrieved August 8, 2014, from https://www.popline.org/node/529302
Rees WE (1992) Ecological footprints and appropriated carrying capacity: what urban economics leaves out. Environment and Urbanization 4(2):121–130
Seriño MNV (2014) Do Philippine Households Lead a Carbon Intensive Lifestyle? Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth-Discussion Paper No. 158. Retrieved February 5, 2019, from https://www.econsor.eu/handle/10419/100100
Seriño MNV (2016) The rising carbon footprint of philippine households: an estimation using consumption expenditure and input–output analysis. Ann Trop Res 38(2):1–16
Seriño MNV (2017) Is decoupling possible? Association between affluence and household carbon emissions in the Philippines. Asian Econ J 31(2):165–185
Seriño MNV, Klasen S (2015) Estimation and determinants of the Philippines' household carbon footprint. Dev Econ 53(1):44–62
Stark O, Taylor JE, Yitzhaki S (1986) Remittances and inequality. Econ J 96(383):722–740
Tian X, Geng Y, Dong H, Dong L, Fujita T, Wang Y, Zhao H, Wu R, Liu Z, Sun L (2016) Regional household carbon footprint in China: a case of Liaoning province. J Clean Prod 114(2016):401–411
Wackernagel M, Rees WE (1996) Our Ecological Footprint. Reducing Human Impact on Earth. New Society Press. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from https://www.newsociety.com/Books/O/Our-Ecological-Footprint
Weidema BP, Thrane M, Christensen P, Schmidt J, Løkke S (2008) Carbon footprint. J Ind Ecol 12(1):3–6
Wiedenhofer D, Guan D, Liu Z, Meng J, Zhang N, Wei YM (2017) Unequal household carbon footprints in China. Nat Clim Change 7(2017):75–80
Wiedmann T, Minx J (2007) A definition of “carbon footprint”. Ecol Econ Res Trends 1:1–11
World Bank (2019) CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) | Data | Table. Retrieved September 14, 2019, from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC?view=chart
Xu X, Han L, Lv X (2016) Household carbon inequality in urban China, its sources and determinants. Ecol Econ 128(2016):77–86
Yang T, Liu W (2017) Inequality of household carbon emissions and its influencing factors: case study of urban China. Habitat Int 70(2017):61–71
Yang Z, Wu S, Cheung HY (2017) From income and housing wealth inequalities to emissions inequality: carbon emissions of households in China. J Hous Built Environ 32(2):231–252
Zhang X, Karplus VJ, Qi T, Zhang D, He J (2016) Carbon emissions in China: how far can new efforts bend the curve? Energy Econo 54(2016):388–395
The author would like to acknowledge the financial support from the program Exchange by Promoting Quality Education, Research and Training in South and South-East Asia (EXPERTS 1) funded by the European Commission Erasmus and the guidance of Prof. Dr. Stephan Klasen of Göttingen University, Germany. In addition, heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan for additional funding and support when the author was a visiting research fellow at the center. We are very grateful to the editor and anonymous referees for their comments and suggestions. It helped improve the paper substantially.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Seriño, M.N.V. Rising carbon footprint inequality in the Philippines. Environ Econ Policy Stud 22, 173–195 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10018-019-00253-7
- Carbon intensive
- Household consumption
- Gini index
- Climate change mitigation