Who Emits CO2? Landscape of Ecological Inequalities in France From a Critical Perspective

65 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021 Last revised: 3 Dec 2021

See all articles by Antonin Pottier

Antonin Pottier

Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement

Emmanuel Combet

French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME)

Jean-Michel Cayla

Électricité de France (EDF)

Simona de Lauretis

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France

Franck Nadaud

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France

Date Written: May 26, 2021

Abstract

This article provides a panorama of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inequalities between French households. It presents in a detailed and critical manner the methodological conventions that are used to compute “household emissions”, including the related assumptions. The most common responsibility principle, the “consumer responsibility”, assigns to households the emissions of the products that they consume, resulting in the carbon footprint. It focuses attention on the contributions of individuals, on their choices, and it may obscure the role of non-individual actors and also the collective component of GHG emissions, and it neglects the dimensions of responsibility that are not related to consumption choices. We estimate the distribution of household carbon footprints based on data from the 2011 French Household Budget Survey. Household emissions tend to increase with income, but they also show a strong variability linked to geographical and technical factors that force the consumer to use fossil fuels. Based on sectoral surveys (ENTD 2008; PHEBUS 2013), we also reconstruct household CO2 emissions linked to housing and transport energy. For transport, emissions are proportional to the distance travelled due to the predominant use of private cars. Urban settlement patterns constrain both the length of daily commuting and access to less carbon-intensive modes of transport. For housing, while the size of the dwelling increases with income and distance from urban centres, the first factor to account for variability of emissions is the heating system: this has little to do with income but more to do with settlement patterns, which constrain access to the various energy carriers. Finally, we discuss the difficulties, both technical and conceptual, that are involved in estimating emissions from the super-rich (the top 1 percent).

Suggested Citation

Pottier, Antonin and Combet, Emmanuel and Cayla, Jean-Michel and de Lauretis, Simona and Nadaud, Franck, Who Emits CO2? Landscape of Ecological Inequalities in France From a Critical Perspective (May 26, 2021). FEEM Working Paper No. 14.2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3853896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3853896

Antonin Pottier

Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement ( email )

45bis, avenue de la Belle Gabrielle
Nogent sur Marne CEDEX, 94736
France

Emmanuel Combet (Contact Author)

French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) ( email )

France

Jean-Michel Cayla

Électricité de France (EDF) ( email )

Paris
France

Simona De Lauretis

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France ( email )

Campus du Jardin Tropical
45 bis avenue de la Belle Gabrielle
F94736 Nogent sur Marne Cedex
France

Franck Nadaud

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France

Campus du Jardin Tropical
45 bis avenue de la Belle Gabrielle
F94736 Nogent sur Marne Cedex
France

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
47
Abstract Views
207
PlumX Metrics