With the Paris Agreement, countries are obliged to report greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, which will ensure that the global temperature increase is maintained well below 2 °C. The parties will report their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in terms of plans and progress towards these targets during the postponed COP26 (Conference of the Parties under the UNFCCC) in Glasgow in November 2021. These commitments, however, do not take significant portions of the consumption-related emissions related to countries imports into account. Similarly, the majority of companies that report their emissions to CDP (Formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) also do not account for their embodied value-chain-related emissions. Municipalities, on the path towards carbon neutrality in accordance with the methods outlined by C40, also do not include imported and embodied CO2
in their total emission tallies. So, who is responsible for these emissions—the producer or the consumer? How can we ensure that the NDCs, municipalities’ and companies’ reduction targets share the responsibility of the emissions in the value chain, thus ensuring that targets and plans become sustainable, climate fair, and just in global value chains? Today the responsibility lays with the producer, which is not sustainable. We have the outline for the tools needed to quantify and transparently share the responsibility between producers and consumers at corporate, municipal and national levels based on an improved understanding of the attendant sources, causes, flows and risks of GHG emissions globally. Hybrid life cycle analysis/environmentally extended input–output (LCA/EEIO) models can for example be further developed. This will, in the end, enable everyday consumption to support a more sustainable, green and low carbon transition of our economy.
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