A third of the EU’s carbon footprint is due to its imports, according to INSEE

According to the analysis published by INSEE on Wednesday July 20, Europeans emit 1.5 times more greenhouse gases per capita than the world average. youn third of the EU’s carbon footprint is due to imports.

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The European Union emits 1.5 times more greenhouse gases (GHG) per capita than the world average, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee), which published an analysis on Wednesday July 20 on the carbon footprint at European level.

Calculated at the level of a country by adding the emissions related to domestic production, the direct emissions of households as well as those related to imports, the carbon footprint makes it possible to measure the quantity of GHG emitted to satisfy the consumption of the inhabitants. “Given that advanced countries have relocated their production, the carbon footprint makes it possible not to focus only on what is produced on the national territory“, explains Mathieu Lequien, head of the macroeconomic studies division of INSEE.

According to experts, a third of the EU’s carbon footprint is due to its imports. In relation to the number of inhabitants, this is equivalent to 11 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per European, in 2018. Against 21 in the United States and 8 tonnes in China.

INSEE recalls that at the global level, global emissions increased by half, between 2000 and 2018 (+49%). An unevenly distributed increase: while they fell slightly in Europe and the United States, emissions produced on Chinese territory tripled (+175%). This difference can be explained first of all by the differences in terms of production structure: the advanced countries have an economy geared towards services, fewer emitters. “Moreover, even with a similar production structure, the production of an industrial good is more efficient and less emitting in advanced countries.“, explains the expert.

It should be noted that within these advanced countries, France also stands out for producing less carbon-intensive energy. “This observation can be explained by the significant part of nuclear power in the French energy mix.“, concluded Mathieu Lequien.

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