What is it about?

The environmental cost of disaster-related emergency supplies is significant. However, little research has been conducted on the estimation of emergency-supply transportation-related carbon emissions. In this study, we created an "emergency supply emission estimation methodology" (ESEEM). Aside from air transport, our study's robustness tested and validated ESEEM model has the potential to estimate CO2 (or pollutant) emissions from transport of emergency supplies via any other mode of transport, such as road, rail, and water, where we have demand estimates or demand can be predicted without the not easily available location estimates.

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Why is it important?

The nature of natural and unnatural disasters makes it almost impossible to know the exact locations, and hence the distances can’t be exactly measured. However, the consumption (demand) quantity, emissions accounts (per hour carbon releases), and demand-based number of journeys (e.g., flights) can be estimated prior to or in the early stages of a disaster like the COVID-19 pandemics. Using the concept of consumption-based emissions accounting approach (CBA) , our ESEEM methodology allocates emissions primarily based on total population or expected volume of consumption (i.e., the requirement for COVID-19 vaccine doses) while using average flight hours (or in other words, average distance) rather than exact distances between emergency supply dispatch and final consumption locations. Although the knowledge about the exact dispatch and destination location could provide much more accurate estimates, the usage of average distance can also provide somewhat reliable findings. Because the average distance between nations is constant for all locations/countries, the use of the average distance logically implies that any change in the location of the COVID-19 vaccination production or consumption will not significantly affect the consumption-based emissions estimations. Furthermore, even when using different procedures for the distance data estimations, the average distance between countries and major destinations does not vary significantly. The robustness of our model is tested using the conventional and MCM-based one-sample t-test to prove statistically significant similarities between sample CO2 emissions estimations (estimated based on our minimum direct distance dataset (MDD) of 243 locations) with a larger population (derived from several datasets including MDD, "Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)" distance data between important cities/agglomerations and capitals ). The development of the novel ESEEM methodology could aid in the estimation of previously overlooked CO2 emissions from the transportation of disaster-related emergency supplies. The novel methodology can be used or modified by other studies to estimate the various disaster relief supplies-related environmental impacts when the exact location and timing of the disaster are unknown or imprecise. Furthermore, estimating the impact of key socio-economic factors can aid in the development of long-term policies that can help to reduce the environmental impact of disaster-related emergency supplies in general. The presentation of expected CO2 emissions from the global air transport of one dose per capita to 7.8 billion people (ODCV) and the air transport emissions of more than one dose per capita secured by certain countries, i.e., required doses per capita (RDCV), as well as the estimation of the impact of key factors, can help mitigate the COVID-19 vaccine's global air transport emissions. Finally, the IPAT analysis of the COVID-19 vaccine air dispatch-related CO2 emissions policymakers to reduce the CO2 emissions expected from the COVID-19 vaccine's global air transport.


In our view, the air transport of the COVID-19 vaccine being an ongoing crisis makes it one of the best-case examples for quantifying the emergency supply-related CO2 releases under our proposed ESEEM method. In summary, the research has a broader scope beyond the COVID-19 vaccine's air transport, and the COVID-19, being a popular research and media attention topic, is considered to be a suitable topic to represent the empirical estimation under our ESEEM method.

Dr. Muhammad Jawad Sajid
Xuzhou Institute of Technology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Estimating CO2 emissions from emergency-supply transport: The case of COVID-19 vaccine global air transport, Journal of Cleaner Production, February 2022, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.130716.
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