The materiality of the immaterial. Service sectors and CO2 emissions in Uruguay.

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© 2014 Elsevier B.V. This paper analyzes the carbon dioxide emissions of the service sector subsystem of Uruguay in 2004. Services, with the exception of transport, are often considered intangible because of their low level of direct emissions. However, the provision of services requires inputs produced by other sectors, including several highly material-intensive sectors.Through input-output analysis we investigate the relationship between the service subsystem and the rest of the economy as regards carbon dioxide emissions. This approach allows us to study the importance of the set of services branches as a unit in the economic structure as well as to analyze in detail the relationship between the branches. The results depict that services' direct emissions are the main component, as a consequence of transport related sectors. However, the pollution that the service subsystem makes the rest of the economy produce is very significant, and it is almost all explained by non-transport related sectors. This analysis is useful for determining the sectors in which mitigation policies are more effective, and whether they would be better tackled through technical improvements and better practices or through demand policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Carbon dioxide emissions
  • Input-output analysis
  • Services
  • Subsystems


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