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Causes of the anthropogenic climate change PART IV consumption vs. production

Consumption vs. production-based greenhouse gas emissions

Various factors play a crucial role in the debate about climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An important but often ignored aspect is the difference between consumption-based and production-based greenhouse gas emissions. This post takes a closer look at these two concepts.

Production-based emissions- those, we bear responsibility for

Production-based greenhouse gas emissions refer to the amount of greenhouse gases produced during the production of goods and services within a specific geographical area or country. These emissions are commonly referred to as “territorial emissions” or “direct emissions” because they can be directly attributed to production activities within the country’s borders.

territorial emissions: e.g restricted to one country

Consumption-based emissions: The hidden burden

Consumption-based emissions take into account the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of goods, including emissions originating in other countries. This allows for a more comprehensive view of the environmental impact caused by a country’s consumption. In contrast to production-based emissions, which take emissions into account at the place of production, consumption-based emissions take into account the place where the products are consumed. This is particularly relevant in times of global trade networks, where many products are procured through international supply chains. This illustrates that countries with low production-based emissions can still have significant environmental impacts when consuming large amounts of imported goods. There is a shift in responsibility for emissions from the country where the products were manufactured to the country that consumes them.

emissions caused by consumption

What now?

Austria has already taken measures to reduce its production-based emissions. Investments in renewable energy, the promotion of energy-efficient technologies and efforts to transition to a circular economy are examples of this.

However, countries face the challenge of not only reducing their own emissions, but also addressing the global impact of their consumption behavior. In order to reduce consumption-based emissions, a rethinking of consumer behavior is required. A conscious decision for sustainable products, supporting local products and a general change in consumer behavior are essential steps towards this.

Information campaigns and product labeling via labels can provide an impetus for changing consumer behavior: they create clarity and can support consumers in making ecological decisions. This is exactly why the pro local label was founded: to offer consumers trustworthy labeling of regionally produced products.

Sources: Umweltbundesamt

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