Quotation Tukker, Arnold, Bulavskaya, Tanya, Giljum, Stefan, de Koning, Arjan, Lutter, Franz Stephan, Simas, Moana, Stadler, Konstantin, Wood, Richard. 2016. Environmental and resource footprints in a global context: Europe's structural deficit in resource endowments. Global Environmental Change 40, 171-181.


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Abstract

The European Union (EU) has proposed in its Resource-efficiency roadmap a ‘dashboard of indicators’ consisting of four headline indicators for carbon, water, land and materials. The EU recognizes the need to use a consumption-based (or ‘footprint’) perspective to capture the global dimension of resources and their impacts. In this paper, we analyse how the EU’s footprints compare to those of other nations, to what extent the EU and other major economies of the world rely on embodied resource imports, and what the implications are for policy making based on this comparison. This study is the first comprehensive multi-indicator comparison of all four policy relevant indicators, and uses a single consistent global Multi-Regional Input Output (MRIO) database with a unique and high level of product detail across countries. We find that Europe is the only region in the world that relies on net embodied imports for all indicators considered. We further find that the powerful economies of China and others in the Asia-Pacific already dominate global resource consumption from a footprint perspective, while they still haven’t reached the prosperity of developed countries. Competition for resources is hence likely to increase, making Europe even more vulnerable. A hot spot analysis suggests that final consumption of food, transport and housing are priorities for reduction efforts along the life cycle. Further, countries with a similar Human Development Index can have very different footprints, pointing at societal organisation at macro-level as option for improvement. This points at options for countries for lowering their footprint, becoming less dependent on embodied imports, while maintaining a high quality of life.

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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Global Environmental Change
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new WH-B
Language English
Title Environmental and resource footprints in a global context: Europe's structural deficit in resource endowments
Volume 40
Year 2016
Page from 171
Page to 181
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.07.002

Associations

People
Giljum, Stefan (Details)
Lutter, Franz Stephan (Details)
External
Bulavskaya, Tanya (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, Netherlands)
de Koning, Arjan (Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, Netherlands)
Simas, Moana (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway)
Stadler, Konstantin (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway)
Tukker, Arnold (Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, Netherlands)
Wood, Richard (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway)
Organization
Institute for Ecological Economics IN (Details)
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