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Making the environment count

Nordic accounts and indicators for analysing and integrating environment and economy

image of Making the environment count

In 2013, the Nordic Ministers for the Environment decided to strenghten the measurement of green estimates of welfare and socio-economic developments. The report Making the Environment Count is describing how statistics on the environment and the economy thorugh the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts can be used to enable cross-sectorial analysis. The report proposes indicators that can be compiled annually in a Nordic context through existing statistics linking economic statistics to environmental statistics.

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Driving forces - from the economy and society

Important driving forces that determine the size of the environmental pressure is the size of the production and consumption activities in a region. Of importance and closely connected to the environmental pressure from the economy is also the energy system infrastructure, i.e. how electricity and heat are generated, and the use of fossil fuels. The analytical starting point is the national accounts - where we find the basis for calculating the macroeconomic indicator, GDP. The description of the economy needs to be “opened up” so that the structure of production and consumption can be seen, since the environmental pressure is very different depending on the type of economic activity analysed. The Nordic countries differ in their economic structure but they all have developed electricity and heat systems that have relatively little fossil fuel input. Whereas, the extractive industries in the Nordic countries make the material flows from the region unusually high as compared to the mean of the EU countries.

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