The database PEACH2AIR links emissions of greenhouse and acidifying gases, of gases contributing to tropospheric ozone formation and particulate matter to consumer expenditures in Belgium in 2014. It relies on standardized air pollution data (including air emissions accounts), input-output tables and the Household Budget Survey. Analyses for 2014 show that energy products as well as food and non-alcoholic beverages are the most air polluting expenditure categories.
This report describes a method for linking the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of Belgian households with air pollution caused by their consumption. The database created is named PEACH2AIR, where PEACH stands for ‘Profiling the Environmental Accountability of the Consumption of Households’. AIR refers to the pollution considered: greenhouse gases, acidifying gases, gases contributing to tropospheric ozone formation and particulate matter. The air pollution data used here are related to Belgium only. Therefore, it is assumed that imported goods and services generate the same air pollution as those produced in Belgium, which is obviously a simplification.
PEACH2AIR links the following data for 2014:
- the Belgian household budget survey (HBS), which contains representative data on household expenditure on goods and services, with more precise information on energy expenditure compared to the previous HBSs;
- data on air pollution caused during the production of goods and services, calculated on the basis of the air emissions accounts of the Federal Planning Bureau and the input-output tables, including a more detailed estimate for food products and public goods and services;
- data from Belgian inventories or international sources concerning air pollution caused by fuels used by households at home (heating, cooking, hot water) and for their personal means of transport.
PEACH2AIR calculates VAT and excise duties paid on the goods and services recorded in the HBS. This is necessary, because the coefficients regarding air pollution caused during the production of 1 euro of a particular product correspond with 1 euro worth of expenditure at basic prices, so exclusive of taxes on products. However, the data in the HBS are expressed at purchaser’s prices, inclusive of those taxes. To avoid an overestimation of air emissions caused by household consumption, the air pollution coefficients
also have to be calculated per euro at purchaser’s prices, by applying a tax correction factor. Furthermore, the calculation of VAT and excise duties allows us to model the socio-economic impact on households of changes in these taxes.
A provisional analysis of PEACH2AIR shows that food and non-alcoholic beverages and energy products were by far the most air polluting expenditure categories in the 2014 budgets of the households. They accounted for 55 to 60% of air pollution caused by household consumption, while only representing just over 20% of total household expenditure. Food and non-alcoholic beverages are more important in the context of acidification, energy products in the context of climate change.
This report is part of the SUSPENS research project funded by the Federal Science Policy Office. The Centre for Social Policy of the University of Antwerp is coordinating this research work. Besides the Federal Planning Bureau, the IGEAT-CEDD of the Université libre de Bruxelles also takes part in the project. SUSPENS aims to support the preparation of policies that promote the transition towards less polluting consumption patterns. To this end, it plans to further finetune PEACH2AIR and integrate it into the EUROMOD microsimula tion model.