The traditional attribution of responsibility for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to producing countries may be distorted by international trade flows as importing emission-intensive commodities contributes to reducing a country’s production-based emissions. This has motivated the calculation of carbon footprints that measure the amount of domestic and foreign GHG emissions (directly and indirectly) embodied in commodities intended for final consumption by a country’s residents. In this
working paper, we present carbon footprint estimations for Belgium based on global multi-regional input-output (MRIO) tables that have been made consistent with detailed Belgian national accounts. According to our calculations, Belgium’s carbon footprint is substantially higher than its productionbased emissions, which means that Belgium is a net importer of GHG emissions. Moreover, our results show that consistency with detailed national accounts does matter for MRIO-based carbon footprint calculations, in particular for a small open economy like Belgium.
This paper constitutes the contribution of the Federal Planning Bureau to the round table discussion with the Interdepartemental Commission for Sustainable Development of 11/2/2016 as part of task 1.3 of the SUSPENS research project. This paper gives a brief description of the climate and social policy in Belgium. The focus is on the policy goals to which Belgium has committed itself and on how far these have been achieved. The analysis shows that Belgium will have to make considerable efforts to achieve these goals and that cross-border cooperation will be necessary to realise the transition towards a low-carbon society.