There are two types of environmental economic accounts. The monetary environmental economic accounts are compiled by reorganising the core structures of the System of National Accounts (SNA)/ European System of Accounts (ESA) to identify environmental transactions that cannot be easily isolated in the national accounts (due to the structure of the accounts or the types of classifications used), while the physical environmental economic accounts contain data which can be added to the national accounts given that they are bound by the same framework, definitions and classifications as used in the latter.
In environmental economic accounts, environmental data (such as emissions of air pollutants) are distributed among the various economic actors identified in the national (regional) accounts, i.e. households and the different industries.
The legal framework on environmental economic accounts was developed in the context of the European Strategy on Environmental Accounts (ESEA). The most recent version is the ESEA 2014-2018.
In July 2011, the European Union (EU) adopted Regulation (EU) No 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts. Following this Regulation, the EU Member States deliver as of 2013 three environmental economic accounts to Eurostat on a yearly basis:
- the Air Emissions Accounts (AEA),
- the Environmental Taxes by Economic Activity (ETEA) accounts,
- the Economy-Wide Material Flow Accounts (EW-MFA).
The Federal Planning Bureau (FPB), on behalf of the National Accounts Institute (NAI), compiles those accounts and prepares itself for future Eurostat reporting requirements as set out in the European Regulation No 538/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 691/2011. Following this Regulation, the EU Member States have to deliver as of 2017 on a yearly basis three more modules on top of the three modules mentioned above. These three new modules are :
- the Environmental Protection Expenditure Accounts (EPEA),
- the Physical Energy Flow Accounts (PEFA),
- the Environmental Goods and Services Sector (EGSS) accounts.
Several pilot studies on environmental economic accounts have been conducted, largely financed by Eurostat. The list of such studies performed by European Statistical System (ESS) countries can be found on the website of Eurostat in the Environmental accounts dedicated section.
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