Literature Review on households / individual carbon footprints Households’ carbon footprints have fluctuated on a regular basis for many years. Why is this the case? Surely our carbon footprint should be reducing with ever increasing pressures from Governments and NGOs to consider the consequences of our lifestyles on the future of our planet. This is not the result though, “our needs and desires are expressed in the consumer demand for commodities, and it is this demand for goods and services which drives the production processes that consume resources” (Druckman, Jackson, 2009). Druckman and Jackson aim to understand carbon dioxide emissions from economic activity and “explore the variation in carbon footprints across different segments of society.” Druckman and Jackson found that affluence was a big factor in determining carbon emission disparities but it was not the only factor. Using a Local Area Resource Analysis (LARA) model, they realised that dwelling type and household composition also played a part. Using a variety of different methods and data, Druckman and Jackson tried to understand the variations in the UK’s carbon emissions. Examples of the different types of data in the literature were: “Allocation table for high level functional uses”, trends in CO2 and household expenditure in the UK and “CO2 emissions attributable to Supergroups”. In almost all research projects there are assumptions and limitations and this was also the case in this literature. Druckman and Jackson are attempting to understand emissions linked to consumption, something that requires a great amount of data collecting due to embedded consumption. This consumption accounting requires Environmental Input-Output modelling which has not been used in the UK since 1995. Druckman and Jackson therefore have to use alternative methods (in this case, the “1995 Leontief Inverse and Imports Use Matrices”), this means that industry structure is not accurate, which therefore means that the...
References: Druckman A. and Jackson T. (2009) The carbon footprint of UK households 1990-2004: A socio-economically disaggregated, quasi-multi-regional-input-output model. Ecological Economics, 68(7), pp. 2066-2077
HM Government, 2008. Climate Change Act 2008. The Stationery Office Limited, London, UK.
Jackson, T (2006) The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Consumption. London: Earthscan.
Lawrence, G (1998) The Future of Local Agenda 21 in the New Millennium
Middlemiss, L (2010) Reframing Individual Responsibility for Sustainable Consumption: Lessons from Environmental Justice and Ecological Citizenship, Environmental Values, 19, pp. 147-167
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