The U.S. household consumption, a key engine for the global economy, has significant carbon footprints across the world. Understanding how the U.S. household consumption on specific goods or services drives global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is important to guide consumption-side strategies for climate mitigation. Here we examined global GHG emissions driven by the U.S. household consumption from 1995 to 2014 using an environmentally extended multi-regional input-output model and detailed U.S. consumer expenditure survey data. The results show that the annual carbon footprint of the U.S. households ranged from 17.7 to 20.6 tCO2eq/capita with an expanding proportion occurring overseas. Housing and transportation contributed 53–66% of the domestic carbon footprint. Overseas carbon footprint shows an overall increasing trajectory, from 16.4% of the total carbon footprint in 1995 to the peak of 20.4% in 2006. These findings provide valuable insights on the scale, distribution, and variations of the global GHG emissions driven by the U.S. household consumption for developing consumption-side strategies in the U.S. for climate mitigation.
CSS Publication Number:
Song, Kaihui, Shen Qu, Morteza Taiebat, Sai Laing, and Ming Xu. (2019) “Scale, distribution and variations of global greenhouse gas emissions driven by U.S. households.” Environment International 133 Part A (105137): 1-9.