Lost carbon emissions: The role of non-manufacturing other industries and refining in industrial energy use and carbon emissions in IEA countries

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published




We present a review of trends in energy use and output in branches of industry not often studied in detail: petroleum refining and what we call the other industries—agriculture, mining, and construction. From a sample of IEA countries we analyze eight with the most complete data from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s. We carry out a decomposition analysis of changes in energy use and carbon emissions in the "other industries" sector. We also review briefly the impact of including refining in the evolution of manufacturing energy use, usually studied without refining. Despite many data problems, we present our results as a way of enticing others to study these important "lost" sectors more carefully. We have five basic findings. First, "other industries" tends to be a minor consumer of energy in many countries, but in some, particularly Denmark, the US, and Australia, mining or agriculture can be a major sector too large to be overlooked. Second, refining is an extremely energy intensive industry which despite a relatively low share of value added consumes as much as 20% of final energy use in manufacturing. Third, as a result of a slower decline in the carbon-intensity of these industries vis-a-vis the manufacturing industries, their share of industrial emissions has been rising. Fourth, for other industries variation in per capita output plays a relatively small role in differentiating per capita carbon emissions compared to the impact of subsectoral energy intensities. Finally, including this energy in CO2 calculations has little impact on overall trends, but does change the magnitude of emissions in most countries significantly. Clearly, these industries provide important opportunities for searching for carbon emissions reductions.


Energy Policy



Year of Publication