Carbon footprint

  • Flanders has a carbon footprint of 20 tonnes CO2-equivalents per inhabitant

    The carbon footprint of a country or region includes all greenhouse gas emissions that are generated worldwide as a result of consumption by the inhabitants of that country or region. In 2010, the carbon footprint of Flanders totalled 128 million tonnes CO2-equivalents, which is equal to about 20 tonnes per inhabitant. This implies that the carbon footprint of Flanders, expressed in CO2-equivalents is 1.5 times higher than the total greenhouse gas emissions in Flanders itself. To limit the average global temperature increase to 2°C, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to an average of 2 tonnes per inhabitant by 2050.

  • Nearly three-quarters of the carbon footprint linked to goods and services purchased by households

    Almost three-quarters of the carbon footprint, about 15 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per inhabitant, is linked to the goods and services purchased by households. Most of these emissions, about four-fifths, are generated during the production and transport of the consumed goods and services. The rest are greenhouse gas emissions generated by households themselves through the use of fuels in the home and by driving a car. 
    The remaining quarter of the Flemish carbon footprint consists mainly of emissions linked to investments by companies and governments in, among other things, buildings and infrastructure, machinery and ICT equipment (just over 3 tonnes of CO2-equivalents per inhabitant) and emissions linked to public services for which the consumer does not pay directly, such as education and defence (about 2 tonnes of CO2-equivalents per inhabitant). 

  • More than half of carbon footprint comes from housing, passenger transport and food

    More than half of the carbon footprint comes from housing, passenger transport and food. 

    Half of the carbon footprint for housing comes from heating.  
    90% of the passenger transport footprint is caused by cars. These are mainly greenhouse gases produced during the extraction and refining of the fuels used and by the exhaust of the cars themselves, and to a lesser extent, emissions in the production chains and for the maintenance of the cars. The share of other modes of transport in the carbon footprint is limited. 
    More than four fifths of the carbon footprint of food originates in the production chain of food purchased by households. 

Sources

Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) Environmental report (MIRA), carbon footprint 

Definitions

Carbon footprint of a country or region: the greenhouse gas emissions that are generated worldwide as a result of the consumption of the inhabitants of that country or region. These are:

  • greenhouse gas emissions from the production and distribution chains of the goods and services purchased by households; 
  • greenhouse gas emissions generated by households themselves through the use of fuels in the home and by driving a car. 
  • greenhouse gas emissions linked to investments by companies and governments in buildings and infrastructure, machinery and ICT equipment, etc.; 
  • greenhouse gas emissions linked to public services for which consumers do not pay directly, such as education and defence. 

 

These are emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). In order to be able to compare and add up the emissions of these gases, they are expressed in CO2-equivalents. Emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are not included.

CO2-equivalents: unit of measurement used to reflect the warming potential of greenhouse gases. CO2 is the reference gas against which other greenhouse gases are measured. For example, methane has a warming potential which is 25 times higher than CO2 for the same mass of gas, so 1 tonne of methane is equal to 25 tonnes of CO2-equivalents.

Publication date

20 December 2018

Next update

January 2021

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