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The uneven weight of carbon on policy: towards a framework for understanding how greenhouse gas inventories can inform equitable climate policy design

Abstract

In this analysis, we systematically review and synthesize the results of two local-level studies linking various types of carbon emissions data with nationwide measures of affluence. We focus on the socio-economic dimensions of climate policy, differentiating between different sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and between different methods of collecting greenhouse gas emissions data. We demonstrate that high levels of affluence spatially displace carbon-intensive production-based emissions. We then synthesize a framework for future research on environmental policy design to explicitly consider the method of collecting data on carbon emissions by sector and activity. We offer strategies for policymakers regarding the conditions under which specific carbon emissions data collection methods may be more relevant or appropriate than other methods. We emphasize that more equitable environmental policy objectives can be achieved by recognizing the socio-economic dimensions of carbon emissions data, thus the importance of critically examining the way those data inform policy.

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  1. Available here: http://vulcan.rc.nau.edu/index.html Last accessed November 9, 2020.

  2. Available here: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Household-Impact-Study-Ummel.pdf Last Accessed November 9, 2020.

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Correspondence to Andrew Pattison.

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Pattison, A., Clement, M.T. & Habans, R. The uneven weight of carbon on policy: towards a framework for understanding how greenhouse gas inventories can inform equitable climate policy design. J Environ Stud Sci 12, 81–90 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-021-00713-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-021-00713-1

Keywords

  • Carbon emissions and affluence
  • Direct indirect measures of carbon emissions
  • Policy