Nav: Home

Journal explores database that quantifies environmental impacts in a 'global' world

June 25, 2018

How do you measure a nation's environmental impact when half its goods are imported from China and other regions?

Over the past decade a consortium of European researchers has developed a database, known as EXIOBASE 3, that offers new clarity on the increasingly complex links between international trade, consumption, and environmental impact. The database -- technically, a "global environmentally-extended multi-regional input-output" (EE-MRIO) database -- enables new insights to be drawn about the environmental impact of trade, who benefits from it, and who is harmed by increasing globalization.

In a new special issue, Yale's Journal of Industrial Ecology examines how this database was designed and built -- and how it will improve understanding of the effects of trade, bolster resource efficiency, and provide a knowledge base for global policy.

"EXIOBASE 3 gives researchers -- and policymakers -- the ability to see how international trade relates to resource use and environmental impacts," said Reid Lifset, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. "This new special issue demonstrates how it can be used to assess not only the global impact of production of goods and services but also their consumption. Instead of examining environmental impacts generated by country or territory, this approach reveals the resources used and environmental impacts brought about globally through consumption."

In one paper, researchers analyze the effect of international trade on the environment and the efficiency of resource use between 1995 and 2011. According to their findings, there was some level "decoupling" of economic growth and environmental impact. However, they found that this phenomenon was limited -- or even saw reduced efficiency -- for material use that increased at a rate faster than GDP.

Several articles examine how the database can advance and shape future research. Others present an agenda for connecting research and development of statistical datasets -- and the policy implications globally.

Authors use EXIOBASE 3 to examine the potential for climate policy to decrease global emissions from diets and the potential danger of "rebound effects." In another paper, researchers examine the issue of food waste, finding that measures to reduce consumer food waste could reduce resource use 10 to 11 percent along the value chain.

"This database affords a rich level of breadth: many countries, a wide range of products, and multiple environmental endpoints," said Lifset. "This special issue documents this powerful advance, explaining its origins and design, and how it can be used to further our understanding of consumption, trade and the environment."
-end-
The special issue was edited by Arnold Tukker (Leiden University), Richard Wood (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Stefan Giljum (Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Klaus Hubacek (University of Maryland)."

The Journal of Industrial Ecology is an international peer-reviewed journal owned by Yale University, based at the Yale Center for Industrial Ecology and edited in collaboration with the Tsinghua School of Environment and the Industrial Ecology Program of the Norwegian University of Science & Technology.

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Related Consumption Articles:

Tea consumption leads to epigenetic changes in women
Epigenetic changes are chemical modifications that turn our genes off or on.
Link between alcohol consumption and cardiac arrhythmias
Researchers who studied beer drinkers at the Munich Octoberfest have found that the more alcohol consumed the higher was the likelihood of developing abnormal heart rhythms called cardiac arrhythmias.
Risky alcohol consumption can increase at time of retirement
Every tenth employee increases their alcohol consumption to risky levels at the time of retirement from full-time employment.
The consumption of legumes is associated with a lower risk of diabetes
Recent results from the PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterranea) study show a protective association between total legumes consumption, especially lentils, and the risk of developing subsequent type 2 diabetes after more than 4 years of follow-up of 3349 participants at high cardiovascular risk.
Alcohol consumption shows no effect on coronary arteries
Researchers using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) have found no association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
Could exercise help smokers who want to reduce consumption but not quit?
Researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry will lead a national study with £1.8 million of funding from the NIHR Health Technology Assessment program to test the effectiveness of new support to help smokers who want to reduce but not quit.
Excessive alcohol consumption impacts breathing
Loyola University Chicago researchers have discovered a potential new health concern related to excessive alcohol consumption.
Meat consumption contributing to global obesity
Should we be warning consumers about over-consumption of meat as well as sugar?
Frequent nut consumption associated with less inflammation
In a study of more than 5,000 people, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have found that greater intake of nuts was associated with lower levels of biomarkers of inflammation, a finding that may help explain the health benefits of nuts.
It pays to increase energy consumption
Researchers at Aarhus University have carried out extensive theoretical mappings of the way private consumers can save money for heating in a modern supply system based on electricity.

Related Consumption Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#514 Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast)
This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south.