The "Mine/Yours" method of international comparisons of carbon emissions
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The "Mine/Yours" method of international comparisons of carbon emissions


In previous work (Schipper, Unander & Lilliu 1999), we summarized a new method for comparing energy use and carbon emissions among various countries. We call this the "Mine/Yours" comparison. In this paper, we provide details of the comparisons methodology, and carry out the comparison on a number of IEA countries. We calculate the average energy intensities I for a sample of countries ("yours") and multiply them by structural parameters S for a particular country ("mine"). Comparing the results with the actual energy use of the country in question gives us an estimate of how much energy that country would use with average intensities but with its own structural conditions. The converse can be calculated as well, that is, average structure and own intensities. Emissions can be introduced through the F (fuel mix) term. These calculations show where differences in the components of emissions lead to large gaps among countries, and where those differences are not important. We show which components cause the largest variance in emissions by sector. In households, home size, average winter climate, and energy intensity appear to be the most important differentiating characteristics for space heating. For other residential energy uses the mix of fuels used to generate electricity (utility mix) is most important. Because some of the differences are "built in" - geography, climate, natural resources endowment - we conclude by questioning whether uniform emissions reductions targets make sense. Indeed, the "Mine/Yours" tool provides a valuable guide to important ways in which emissions may or may not be flexible.

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