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The Climate Change Impact of Material Use

Given that the mass of all inputs into an economic system (natural resources) must by definition equal the mass of its outputs (emissions and waste), an overall reduction of material consumption in Europe and globally will be key to stop ecosystem degradation. 

This paper looks at the impact of natural resource use on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Given that over two thirds of global material inputs end up as greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, the paper concludes that climate change mitigation in line with the Paris Agreement will only be successful in the context of a socio-ecological transition focussing both on low-carbon energy sources and on significantly decreasing the consumption of natural resources.

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A - IEForum42016_6.pdf119.97 KB

Authors

Head of Sustainable Resources & CEPS Senior Research Fellow