Methods for Downscaling National Material Consumption Data to the Regional and Municipal Levels

Decision makers are looking to reach consumption-based environmental impact targets like Sustainable Development Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production. These goals require multifaceted action at municipal, regional, and national levels; however, there are limitations to calculating consumption at the regional and municipal levels. Consumption is dependent on the socioeconomic metabolism of the area, with its unique composition of industries, consumers, and public facilities, which may affect the most appropriate measures to meet goals effectively. In this study, we evaluated several methods to extrapolate municipality- and region-specific consumption from national-level data so that consumption estimates can be used to aid decision makers or make further analyses like environmental impact evaluation. We compared four approaches and validated our findings using reported consumption values as well as results from another model in use. We found that using per capita values for consumption is satisfactory for counties, but consumption in municipalities and metropolitan areas with populations smaller than 500,000 inhabitants was better described by one of the suggested methods on average.

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