The overarching purpose of carbon accounting is to reduce carbon emissions to meet net zero targets and minimise the impact of climate change. However, the plethora of methods and approaches used means that products and systems sometimes cannot easily be compared. The mix of regional and life cycle-based systems can mean that we lack a global oversight of our emissions and impact. In some situations where a regional approach is used, industry/business/regions are incentivised to reduce their own/territorial emissions, which can mean that an optimal global solution isn’t adopted. Countries where grid emissions are higher can be selected for production because it reduces regional (not global) carbon levels. Furthermore, these can be areas where the climate impact may be felt the most – not the just transition we aspire to. Our work provides an analysis of the current system together with its challenges and limitations; paving the way towards a more unified framework to create climate justice together with transparent and comparable accounting methodology for industry and regions alike.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Publication statusAcceptance date - 22 Apr 2024


  • carbon
  • climate justice
  • circular economy
  • global emissions

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