The purpose of this paper is to quantitatively examine if varying household consumption activities at different income levels drove CO2 emissions to different degrees in Mexico from 1990 to 2014.
The paper applied a simple expenditure-CO2 emissions elasticity model – a top-down approach – using data from consumption-based CO2 emission inventories and the “Household Income and Expenditure Survey” and assuming a range of 0.7-1.0 elasticity values.
The paper results show a large carbon inequality among income groups in Mexico throughout the period. The household consumption patterns at the highest income levels are related to significantly more total CO2 emissions (direct + indirect) than the household consumption patterns at the lowest income levels, in absolute terms, per household and per capita. In 2014, for example, the poorest household decile emitted 1.6 tCO2 per capita on average, while the wealthiest decile reached 8.6 tCO2 per capita.
The results suggest that it is necessary to rethink the effect of consumption patterns on climate change and the allocation of mitigation responsibilities, thus opening up complementary options for designing mitigation strategies and policies.
The paper represents an alternative approach for studying CO2 emissions responsibility in Mexico from the demand side, which has been practically absent in previous studies. The paper thereby opens a way for studying and discussing climate change in terms of consumption and equity in the country.
The authors thank the Doctoral Seminar “Energy, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development” of the UNAM Graduate Department of Economics, Katya Pérez and Luis Romero, for their valuable suggestions and discussion. The authors also thank Glen Peters for his data support. They gratefully acknowledge the constructive comments of the anonymous referees. Finally, the authors are grateful to the Academic Writing Team of UNAM and Robert Forstag for their language assistance.
Santillán Vera, M. and de la Vega Navarro, A. (2019), "Do the rich pollute more? Mexican household consumption by income level and CO2 emissions", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 694-712. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJESM-07-2018-0016Download as .RIS
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