Service industries like banking, health care, and telecommunications may have a squeaky-clean reputation when it comes to industrial pollution, but they are responsible for amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that actually are comparable to those of traditional manufacturing industries, a new study has found.
The University of Minnesota's Sangwon Suh analyzed 44 GHGs among about 500 product and service groups throughout the United States economy, which is undergoing a rapid transformation from traditional industrial manufacturing to services.
The study is scheduled for publication in the November 1 issue of the ACS's Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.
Suh found that service industries directly produce less than 5 percent of GHG emissions by the U. S. industries. However, these service industries are heavy consumers of electricity, natural gas, transportation, and manufactured goods that involve GHG emissions. Consumption of services is responsible for over one-third of all GHG emissions in the United States--without even counting utilities and transportation services, the study found.
The findings, Suh said, mean that a shift to a services-based economy will not automatically reduce absolute emissions of GHGs given the dependence of services on GHG producing industries.
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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