Unsustainable imbalances and inequities in Carbon-Water-Energy flows across the EU27

Xue Chao Wang*, Jiří Jaromír Klemeš, Yutao Wang, Aoife Foley, Donald Huisingh, Dabo Guan, Xiaobin Dong, Petar Sabev Varbanov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The EU27 countries exert significant influence on the global patterns of the CO2-Emissions-Water-Energy (CWE) nexus. However, whether the associated benefits are similar for all countries is unclear. In this paper, an EU27 multiregional input-output model, at a sector level to identify the inter-regional and -sectoral CWE flows, and clarify the regional, sectoral and worldwide patterns of EU27 CWE network is presented. The results revealed an environmental inequality across the EU27 and impacts on the rest of the world. The EU27 countries contributed 1.4 Gt less CO2 emissions, 64.5 Gm3 less water utilisation and 49 EJ less energy consumption, compared to the rest of the world while generating the equivalent economic output in 2014. This has dramatic effects upon the global environment. Germany, France and Italy are the biggest beneficiaries in the CWE nexus in the EU27. It is recommended that the EU27 provide more technical support to upstream countries in the EU and elsewhere to strive to improve their resource utilisation efficiencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110550
Number of pages16
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date10 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is funded by the EU project “Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory – SPIL”, project No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000456 funded by EU “CZ Operational Programme Research, Development and Education”, Priority 1: Strengthening capacity for quality research under the collaboration agreement with Fudan University and Beijing Normal University , as well as the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71961137009 ; No. 71774032 ) and Newton Advanced Fellowship from the British Academy and the Newton Fund ( NAFR2180103 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Carbon-water-energy flows
  • Embodied CO
  • Embodied energy
  • Embodied water
  • EU27
  • Input-output model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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