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Carbon and material footprints of a welfare state: Why and how governments should enhance green investments

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dc.contributor Háskóli Íslands
dc.contributor University of Iceland
dc.contributor.author Ottelin, Juudit
dc.contributor.author Heinonen, Jukka
dc.contributor.author Junnila, Seppo
dc.date.accessioned 2018-08-08T15:27:59Z
dc.date.available 2018-08-08T15:27:59Z
dc.date.issued 2018-08
dc.identifier.citation Ottelin, J., Heinonen, J., & Junnila, S. (2018). Carbon and material footprints of a welfare state: Why and how governments should enhance green investments. Environmental Science & Policy, 86, 1-10. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2018.04.011
dc.identifier.issn 1462-9011
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/756
dc.description.abstract Sustainable development and climate change mitigation have become guiding policy principles in many welfare states. However, the traditional role of a welfare state is to guarantee the economic stability, jobs and welfare for its citizens. Sustainable development leans on the idea that we can have economic, social and environmental sustainability at the same time. This would require decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation. Decoupling should be studied globally, because within nations, the economy can grow while local environmental impacts decrease, but at the same time, global environmental impacts may increase due to international trade. In this study, we examine the consumption-based carbon and material footprints of a Nordic welfare state, Finland. We focus on the environmental impacts of public spending, which has received little attention previously. In welfare states, the reallocation of public funds to services and individuals are at its core. In the study, we examine how this affects the carbon and material footprints of various income groups and household types. We find that the share of public services and investments is 19% of the carbon footprint and 38% of the material footprint per capita. Building of infrastructure plays a major role in composing the material footprint. We also find that the welfare state has important features that improve the carbon equity between the citizens. To achieve absolute decoupling, required to reduce environmental impacts caused by economic activities, we suggest policies promoting public and private green investments. In addition, increased carbon pricing would enhance green investments and drive environmental innovation.
dc.description.sponsorship We would like to thank the following organizations for making the study possible: Aalto University School of Engineering and the University of Iceland’s Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The views expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the funders.
dc.format.extent 1-10
dc.language.iso en
dc.publisher Elsevier BV
dc.relation.ispartofseries Environmental Science & Policy;86
dc.rights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.subject Carbon footprint
dc.subject Material footprint
dc.subject Welfare state
dc.subject Carbon equity
dc.subject Green investments
dc.subject Carbon pricing
dc.subject Kolefnisjöfnun
dc.subject Grænt hagkerfi
dc.subject Velferðarkerfi
dc.subject Sjálfbærni
dc.title Carbon and material footprints of a welfare state: Why and how governments should enhance green investments
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
dcterms.license This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY-NC-ND/4.0/)
dc.description.version Peer Reviewed
dc.identifier.journal Environmental Science & Policy
dc.identifier.doi 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.04.011
dc.contributor.department Umhverfis- og byggingarverkfræðideild (HÍ)
dc.contributor.department Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (UI)
dc.contributor.school Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið (HÍ)
dc.contributor.school School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (UI)

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