Decomposition Analysis

In 2007, the BC Government developed the Climate Action Charter to promote a concerted effort between local and provincial governments for addressing climate change. As part of this effort, municipalities have committed to measuring greenhouse gas emissions in regular intervals, and these number have been compiled into the Community Energy Emissions Inventory (CEEI). This has resulted in a very rich data set that captures emissions for multiple years, by various sectors, and from different communities; however, the question remains – how do we best use this data to inform policy and decision-making toward climate action?

Decomposition analysis provides a potentially powerful means for achieving this objective. This form of analysis can be used to breakdown and examine factors that influence changes in emissions over a given period of time. Through decomposition, we can uncover what is contributing to increases in emissions and driving climate change, as well as understanding where we are making progress in reducing emissions. For example, factors can be isolated such as changes in the types of cars people drive and changes in how much people drive (e.g., average trip length), and these changes can be examined to see whether they have led to either increases or decreases in greenhouse gases. With this information, the appropriate inventions can be made to address the areas where emissions are increasing, whether this be done through policies, land-use planning, financial tools, and/or educational campaigns.

The Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3) project explores this analytical potential by developing decomposition models that can interrogate CEEI data in order to produce insights on priority areas for climate action. Models have been created for transportation, residential, and commercial/industrial sectors, and factors within these sectors are examined for whether they have contributed to increases or decreases in emissions between 2007 and 2012. Unlike other studies that employ decomposition methodology, MC3 takes a unique approach by focusing on smaller scales (i.e., local regions rather than province/state or nation), and by doing so, we aim to develop a method that can aid local governments in moving toward sustainable development pathways.


Publications and Presentations

Mapping climate action co-benefits and decomposition of local and regional greenhouse gas emissions [video].
Rob Newell (2018)

Abstract: This presentation was part of the 2018 Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3) Learning Exchange, and it shares two research projects that (respectively) focus on climate action co-benefits and decomposition analysis. The former explored the co-benefits of implementing climate innovations at the community level, and the latter looked at ways of using decomposition methods to examine community greenhouse gas emissions data. Both research projects aimed to develop a better understanding of tools and techniques for supporting community planning.


Using decomposition methodology to gain a better understanding of progress in and challenges facing regional and local climate action
Rob Newell and John Robinson (2018)

Abstract: Decomposition analysis provides a potentially powerful means for analyzing community greenhouse gas emissions data. However, this form of analysis is typically conducted at larger geographical scales (i.e., national and state/provincial levels), which leaves questions around how to apply this methodology to local and regional contexts. This study explores the application of decomposition methodology to community data in order to elucidate how this form of analysis can be employed to inform local/regional planning and climate policy. The research involved developing decomposition models focused on two areas that are particularly important in local climate action - transportation and residential energy. Each model consisted of five factors - population, population distribution, travel (transportation) or energy customer accounts (residential) intensity, vehicle (transportation) or home energy (residential) type, and emissions intensity. Using data from the BC Community Energy Emissions Inventory, the study examined effects of the factors on emissions changes occurring between 2007 and 2012 in the Metro Vancouver Regional District (British Columbia, Canada). 


BC Community Energy Emissions Inventory (CEEI) Decomposition Analysis: A Methodological Exploration
Robert Newell (2017)

Summary: Decomposition analysis can be used to breakdown and examine factors that influence changes in GHG emissions over a given period of time. This report describes preliminary work that explores ways of applying decomposition methodology to CEEI data, collected for the years 2007, 2010 and 2012. The report primarily concerns methodology, and it focuses on the insights gained from developing decomposition approaches for and applying analyses to community level data.


Other Resources

Ang, B. W. (2004). Decomposition analysis for policymaking in energy: Which is the preferred method? . Energy Policy, 32(9), 1131-1139.

Ang, B. W., (2012). A simple guide to LMDI decomposition analysis. (Presentation).

Ang, B. W., Liu, F. L., & Chew, E. P. (2003). Perfect decomposition techniques in energy and environmental analysis. Energy Policy, 31(14), 1561-1566.

Ang, B. W., & Zhang, F. Q. (2000). A survey of index decomposition analysis in energy and environmental studies. Energy, 25(12), 1149-1176.

Heinen, S., (2013). Analyzing energy use with decomposition methods. (Presentation). Energy Training Week. International Energy Agency. Paris, France.

Jiang, J. (2015). A factor decomposition analysis of transportation energy consumption and related policy implications. IATSS Research, 38(2), 142-148.

Su, B., & Ang, B. W. (2012). Structural decomposition analysis applied to energy and emissions: some methodological developments. Energy Economics, 34(1), 177-188.

Torrie, R., Stone, & Layzell, D. B. (n.d.) Why did Canada’s GDP and energy use diverge after 1995? (Poster).