Exploration of High-emitting Households in the UK

Xinfang Wang, University of Manchester

Xinfang Wang

inequality; household emissions; socioeconomic characteristics; emission distribution

Policies for addressing climate change have been economy wide, little attention has been paid to ‘tailoring’ policies towards the particular high impact groups within society, which may provide for a more effective, efficient and equitable delivery of a low carbon society. With a new angle of separating the high-emitting groups from the general households in the UK in order to promote more reasonable and realistic policies focusing on household emission reductions, this paper concentrated on exploring the key reasons that caused the significant different levels of green house gas (GHG) emissions between the high-emitting households and the general ones. Basing on the consumption-based approach, the paper estimated household emissions by linking their expenditure and corresponding emission intensities. The estimation uses secondary data that are collected from the Economic and Social Data Service in the UK. Further, the distributions of UK household emissions are presented by Lorenz curves. After that, four important household socioeconomic factors including household income, household owned number of cars, house size and household size are investigated on their influence of household emissions from key emitting categories through linear regression analyses. It is found that emissions from transport are more related to household owned number of cars because of its high influence on transport fuel. Emissions from electricity and gas used at home are more related to house size. In addition, household sizes have much less influence on emissions from food and non-alcoholic drink among high emitters comparing to all households. Moreover, among high emitters, households prefer more driving and less use of other transport tools with the increase of household size. The analyses further support the standpoint of treating the high-emitting groups differently from the general households as an implication for policies projected on GHG emission reduction from the UK households.