Emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from final use of CPA products (input-output analysis)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

Unit E.2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development

1.5. Contact mail address

L-2920 Luxembourg, LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 20/08/2018
2.2. Metadata last posted 20/08/2018
2.3. Metadata last update 20/08/2018

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The dataset presents estimates of air emissions 'embodied' in products (goods and services) for final use - also referred to as 'footprints'. The estimates are the result of environmental input-output modelling for the aggregated European Union (EU) economy. For example, the carbon footprint is a measure of how much CO2 was emitted along the full production chain of a product that ends up in the EU-28 as final consumption or investment, irrespective of the industry or country where the CO2 emission occurred. These emissions are sometimes referred to as emissions 'embodied' in EU-28 consumption, although they are not literally included in the final products, and these products are not only consumed, but may also be investment goods. Carbon footprints offer a complementary perspective to greenhouse gas inventories and air emissions accounts. The latter two record emissions on the production side, at the origin of the emissions. In contrast, carbon footprints are estimated from the perspective of the final product and where it ends up, and are therefore also referred to as consumption-based accounts.


The model estimations are based on two main source datasets (see 18.1 for more detail):


The dataset reports on emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from final use of products for:


Estimates for the most recent year in the dataset (t) are estimated based on early estimates of air emissions accounts for year t.  


Footprints can be derived from this dataset by combining the estimates for final consumption expenditure (P3) and gross capital formation (P5) from the dimension INDUSE (for ORIGIN equal to Total/WORLD).


The underlying modelling assumes that the production technology in the rest of the world economy is the same as in the EU. Hence, the estimated 'embodied' emissions in the rest of the world constitute rather emissions avoided in the EU production system. For carbon dioxide (CO2) the difference between 'avoided in EU' and 'actually emitted in rest of the world' is most likely smaller than for other pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) for which very efficient abatement technologies were introduced in the EU.

3.2. Classification system

The dataset has seven dimensions:

1) Air pollutant [AIRPOL]: Results are presented for 12 air emissions, namely:

  • carbon dioxide (CO2)                
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) in CO2 equivalents (HFC_CO2E)       
  • methane (CH4)              
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFC) in CO2 equivalents (PFC_CO2E)
  • nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • sulphur oxides (SOX) in sulphur dioxide (SO2) equivalents
  • ammonia (NH3)
  • nitrogen oxides (NOX) in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) equivalents
  • carbon monoxide (CO)
  • non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC)
  • particulate matter < 10 µm (PM10)       
  • particulate matter < 2.5 µm (PM2_5)

Of these carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons are greenhouse gases.


In addition, the dataset includes various air pollutants expressed in equivalents of another air pollutant: 

  •  CH4 in CO2 equivalents (CH4_CO2E)(*)       
  • N2O in CO2 equivalents (N2O_CO2E)
  • NH3 in SO2 equivalents (NH3_SO2E)(*)
  • NOX in SO2 equivalents (NOX_SO2E)
  • NOX in NMVOC equivalents (NOX_NMVOCE)
  • CO in NMVOC equivalents (CO_NMVOCE)
  • CH4 in NMVOC equivalents (CH4_NMVOCE)

 (*) The global warming potential values used to express CH4 and N2O in CO2 equivalents are 25 and 298, respectively. See Table TS.2 from IPCC's fourth Assessment Report.


 The air pollutants expressed in equivalents of other air pollutants allow for the computation of the following environmental pressures:

Environmental pressure Code Calculation
  • Global warming potential
  • CO2_N2O_CH4_CO2E
  • CO2 + N2O in COeq. + CH4  in CO2 eq. (*)
  • Acidification
  • ACG
  • SOin SO2 eq. + NOX in SO2 eq. + NH3 in SO2 eq.
  • Tropospheric ozone precursors
  • O3PR
  • NMVOC + NOX in NMVOC eq + CO in NMVOC eq. + CH4 in NMVOC eq.

* Note due to data availability fluorinated gases are currently excluded from the global warming potential aggregate.


2) Statistical Classification of Products by Activity in the European Economic Community, 2008 version [CPA08]: The products for final use, for which the 'embodied' air emissions are estimated and presented, are classified according to the CPA 2008 classification (see also the CPA 2008 overview). The product disaggregation level is mainly 2-digit level; all together 64 product groups. In addition, direct emissions by private households are reported. The underlying statistical system is ESA 2010


3) Geopolitical entity (reporting) [GEO]: European Union; EU-28.


4) Place of origin [ORIGIN]: The place where the estimated 'embodied' air emission is assumed to originate from. Three values are possible:

  • DOM = 'Domestic economy', i.e. the emissions are assumed to originate from domestic economic activities (production and consumption).
  • ROW = 'Rest of the world (estimated: assuming domestic technologies)', i.e. the emissions are assumed to originate from rest of the world economies; whereby the so-called 'domestic technology assumption' is applied (see 3.1).
  • WORLD = 'Total', i.e. the sum of the previous two.


5) Period of time [TIME]: data are annual.


6) Columns [INDUSE]: This dimension accommodates the various national accounts categories of 'final use', a specific column classification applied in Symmetric Input-Output Tables and Use Tables. On a first disaggregation level, the total 'final use' includes:

  • Final consumption expenditures (by households, government etc.);
  • Gross capital formation (mainly investment goods used for capital formation such as e.g. buildings, machinery equipment etc.);
  • Exports (i.e. goods and services sold to other economies in the rest of the world).

Note that the concept 'footprint' generally captures the emissions caused by domestic final demand in the reference economy; in other words caused by final consumption expenditure and gross capital formation. The emissions embodied in EU exports count towards the footprint of other countries and are excluded from the EU footprint.


 7) Unit [UNIT]: tonnes, thousand tonnes and kilograms per capita.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Greenhouse gases and air pollutants (emitted domestically and abroad) due to demand for final products in the EU are estimated.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The model estimations are based on two datasets:

1) Air emissions accounts: A specific physical accounting framework which presents air emissions by emitting industries (NACE classified) and private households, following the concepts and definitions of national accounts. See also the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA). Air emissions comprise greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. See also the metadata of the air emissions accounts.

These two data sets are integrated using so-called Leontief or input-output modelling techniques. Conceptually, the air emissions 'embodied' in products for final use include emissions along the entire production chain of the respective product. The production chains (better production 'networks') are increasingly globalised for most of the products for final use in the EU. Hence, the 'embodied' emissions may result from production activities within the EU economy, as well as from production activities in the rest of the world economy. Note that the 'embodied' emissions in the rest of the world constitute rather emissions avoided in the EU production system due to the modelling assumption that the production technology in the rest of the world is the same as in the EU.

2) ESA supply, use and input-output tables: A specific accounting framework in national accounts portraying the production and consumption activities of a given economy in a comprehensive way (e.g. which products are produced by which industry, and who uses it?). See also the metadata of the supply, use and input-output tables ESA 2010.

3.5. Statistical unit

Data refer to emissions by national households directly and indirectly caused by national final demand for products produced by resident and foreign economic units in the sense of SEEA CF 2012 and national accounts (ESA).

3.6. Statistical population

Not applicable, because the data are modelling estimates.

3.7. Reference area

This dataset presents data for the aggregated EU economy.

3.8. Coverage - Time

The time coverage is 2008 - 2016. In 2008 the CPA 2008 classification was adopted.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

The air emissions 'embodied' in products for final use are presented in tonnes, thousand tonnes and kilograms per inhabitant. Seven of the air pollutants are also expressed in equivalents of another air pollutant. 

5. Reference Period Top

The reference period is the calendar year.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Not applicable with respect to the modelling results.

Note that source data - i.e. the modelling inputs - are under legal coverage:

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Confidential data are flagged "confidential" and not published. For aggregates of confidential data, Eurostat confidentiality rules are respected.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

The data is modelled and updated as soon as updated data is available for air emissions accounts. 

The input dataset are released as follows:

  • Air emissions accounts (2 years delay after the end of the reference year, an early estimate is now compiled one year after the reference year);
  • The consolidated EU supply, use and input-output tables (4 years delay, early estimates are now compiled for two more recent years).
8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Data are disseminated annually.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

There are no online news releases.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications
10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult the dataset online:

  • Emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from final use of CPA08 products - input-output analysis, ESA 2010 [env_ac_io10]
10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The methodology is documented in a report available on the methodology website of Eurostat's environmental accounts.

The tool used to estimate the footprints is also published on this website.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

There is no quality documentation on the modelling results.

For quality reports on the air emissions accounts, see the air emissions accounts metadata.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

The model that is used to derive the results has been developed by researchers with experience in the field of environmentally-extended input–output analysis.

For quality assurance of the input data see the air emissions accounts metadata and the metadata of the supply, use and input-output tables ESA 2010.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

The Environmental Accounts Working Group, encompassing representatives of all Member States, Eurostat and other stakeholders, discusses quality improvements.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Air emissions caused by final use of CPA products provide a complementary view of air emissions compared to the air emissions accounts. The accounts provide information on the proximate causes of air emissions, by linking air emissions to final use of products.

The users include policy makers in environmental ministries, environmental organisations, journalists, students, and interested citizens.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

There are no systematic studies of user satisfaction. Eurostat has regular hearings with European policymakers and contacts with the research community and other stakeholders to monitor the relevance of the statistics produced and to identify new priorities.

12.3. Completeness

Data are complete, meaning they encompass all the sectors of the economy in the EU. Eurostat may have gap-filled the input data.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The data is modelled and the underlying assumptions and modelling techniques are transparent (see above item 10.6). However, the various modelling assumptions do result in higher margins of error compared to GHG inventories and air emissions accounts. For example, the estimate for emissions embodied in imports is based on the ‘domestic-technology-assumption’; in other words it is assumed that the imported products are produced with production technologies similar to those employed within the EU. This implies that the results should be interpreted cautiously and that the reported 'imported emissions' actually represent avoided EU-28 emissions.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

The early estimate becomes available with a delay of just over a year.

14.2. Punctuality

Not applicable, because there is no release calendar.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Geographical coverage is limited to one area (aggregated EU economy). 

15.2. Comparability - over time

The comparability over time is good because the modelling results are re-estimated for the complete time-series each year. The input data have clear statistical concepts and definitions. The two most recent years published are modelled using an estimated consolidated supply and use table, for which not all underlying country data is available yet.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

The data are coherent with principles, definitions and concepts in National Accounts (ESA - European System of Accounts) and Environmental Accounting (SEEA - System of Environmental-Economic Accounting).


In principle, total domestic emissions (code TFU, reported with 'origin' equal to 'domestic economy/DOM', which includes exports of domestic emissions) should equal total air emissions as reported in the air emission accounts. However, small deviations occur because in the air emissions accounts emissions are reported for economic activity CPA_U - Services provided by extraterritorial organisations and bodies, whereas the supply and use tables report zero output for this activity. Hence, in the modelling these emissions reported for CPA_U cannot be reassigned to final products.


It is important that air emissions accounts (AEA) and physical energy flow accounts (PEFA) employ the same groupings of elementary economic units (NACE Rev. 2 activities) as the ESA supply and use tables. This coherence is important with regards to integrated analyses – e.g. applying Leontief-type input-output analysis.

As an overarching general rule AEA and PEFA must apply exactly the same demarcation of productive activities (NACE Rev. 2 activities) as employed for the compilation of the monetary supply and use tables delivered to Eurostat under the ESA transmission programme. Compilers of AEA and PEFA are advised to contact and align with compilers of ESA supply and use tables with the aim to ensure highest coherence between AEA, PEFA and ESA supply and use tables.

However, it has to be noted that this coherence is not always fully provided.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The internal coherence is very high, because it is ensured by the accounting frameworks.

16. Cost and Burden Top

The modelling is done by Eurostat using an IT tool at very low costs. The tool is also published on the methodology website of Eurostat's environmental accounts.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

The general policy is to synchronise with revisions of the input data, namely:

  • Air emissions accounts;
  • ESA supply, use and input-outputs tables.
17.2. Data revision - practice

Data are revised when new data for the air emissions accounts becomes available.

Estimates for the most recent year in the dataset (t) are estimated based on early estimates of air emissions accounts for year t

Air emissions accounts are updated with backward revisions, so all years in the dataset may change after an update. The early estimates of supply and use tables are also subject to revision.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The input data for the modelling are:

1) Air emissions accounts produced and disseminated by Eurostat.

2) Consolidated supply, use and input-output tables for the aggregated EU economy produced and disseminated by Eurostat.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Both data sources are collected annually.

18.3. Data collection

Both sets of input data are collected by Eurostat and are legally covered:

Air emissions accounts: Regulation No 691/2011 on European Environmental Economic Accounts

ESA 2010: Regulation (EU) No 549/2013 on the European system of national and regional accounts

18.4. Data validation

For information on the input data validation see the air emissions accounts metadata and the metadata of the supply, use and input-output tables ESA 2010.

18.5. Data compilation

The results are obtained with environmentally-extended input–output modelling, see '10.6'.

For information on the input data compilation see the air emissions accounts metadata and the metadata of the supply, use and input-output tables ESA 2010.

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable.

19. Comment Top


Related metadata Top
env_ac_ainah_r2_esms - Air emissions accounts and intensities
naio_10_esms - Supply, use and Input-output tables

Annexes Top
Methodology (including SEEA CF 2012)