Addressing the Carbon‐Crime Blind Spot: A Carbon Footprint Approach

15 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2017

See all articles by Helen Skudder

Helen Skudder

University of Surrey - Centre for Environmental Strategy

Angela Druckman

University of Surrey

John Cole

Independent

Ian Brunton‐Smith

University of Surrey

Alan McInnes

Independent

Gian Paolo Ansaloni

Independent

Date Written: August 2017

Abstract

Governments estimate the social and economic impacts of crime, but its environmental impact is largely unacknowledged. Our study addresses this by estimating the carbon footprint of crime in England and Wales and identifies the largest sources of emissions. By applying environmentally extended input‐output analysis–derived carbon emission factors to the monetized costs of crime, we estimate that crime committed in 2011 in England and Wales gave rise to over 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. Burglary resulted in the largest proportion of the total footprint (30%), because of the carbon associated with replacing stolen/damaged goods. Emissions arising from criminal justice system services also accounted for a large proportion (21% of all offenses; 49% of police recorded offenses). Focus on these offenses and the carbon efficiency of these services may help reduce the overall emissions that result from crime. However, cutting crime does not automatically result in a net reduction in carbon, given that we need to take account of potential rebound effects. As an example, we consider the impact of reducing domestic burglary by 5%. Calculating this is inherently uncertain given that it depends on assumptions concerning how money would be spent in the absence of crime. We find the most likely rebound effect (our medium estimate) is an increase in emissions of 2%. Despite this uncertainty concerning carbon savings, our study goes some way toward informing policy makers of the scale of the environmental consequences of crime and thus enables it to be taken into account in policy appraisals.

Keywords: carbon costs of crime, carbon emissions, carbon footprint of crime, crime prevention policy, environmental input‐output analysis, industrial ecology

Suggested Citation

Skudder, Helen and Druckman, Angela and Cole, John and Brunton‐Smith, Ian and McInnes, Alan and Paolo Ansaloni, Gian, Addressing the Carbon‐Crime Blind Spot: A Carbon Footprint Approach (August 2017). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 21, Issue 4, pp. 829-843, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3013907 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12457

Helen Skudder (Contact Author)

University of Surrey - Centre for Environmental Strategy ( email )

University of Surrey
Guildford, GU2 7XH
United Kingdom

Angela Druckman

University of Surrey ( email )

Guildford
Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH
United Kingdom

John Cole

Independent

Ian Brunton‐Smith

University of Surrey ( email )

Guildford
Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH
United Kingdom

Alan McInnes

Independent

Gian Paolo Ansaloni

Independent

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
191
PlumX Metrics