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Introduction to calculator methodology for Ducky Insights API

See how climate footprint calculations are made in Ducky Insights API, what research and methodology is used.

Our focus is on footprint, not just direct emissions, so all of our multipliers are based on life cycle assessment where possible and include upstream emissions. This means that e.g. the footprint of driving a car includes not only the tailpipe emissions from using gasoline, but also a component of the emissions caused by manufacturing the car and, eventually, recycling it. Through the endpoints, the term “multiplier” is used to describe a number that we multiply with some other quantity to get footprint in kg CO2e. 

General notes on modeling choices

Choice of input-output database

An input-output database is a table of how money moves through different sectors of the economy, thereby modeling how different sectors of the economy depend on each other. This can in turn be tied to environmental indicators like greenhouse gas emissions, allowing us to trace their flow through the economy. We use this method - environmentally extended input-output assessment - to determine the overall climate footprint of a household from the top down perspective, which again can be used to confirm that the bottom-up calculations using life cycle assessment factors are yielding correct results. One modeling choice we have to make is which database to use. Different databases collect economic and environmental data with different resolutions (in different sectors of the economy) and with different frequency (yearly or as infrequently as every 5 years).

EXIOBASE is the most detailed MRIO database available, but has been found to be more accurate for large economies. Furthermore, the data is only updated every 5 years compared to yearly for the European Eurostat database. Currently, EXIOBASE is used for the UK datasource, while the Norway datasource uses data from Eurostat in a custom model made by Asplan Viak. 

Choice of footprint categories

See this separate article on the choice of footprint categories and subcategories that are used by Ducky, like Energy and Transport.

Overview per endpoint

Click links below to read more about methodology per API endpoint: