Exploring the Characteristics of CO2 Emissions Embodied in International Trade and the Fair Share of Responsibility

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Abstract

This paper explores the characteristics of embodied CO2 emissions from the perspective of carbon inflows, carbon outflows, and the net effects, at both an aggregate and bilateral scale. We identify several important relationships in bilateral carbon flows, including China–EU, China–USA, Russia–EU, and China–Japan, which make China and Russia the largest carbon exporters and the EU and the USA the largest carbon importers. A further investigation of the sectors contributing to carbon flows shows that exports from the mineral, chemicals, metals, oil, transport, and other manufacturing sectors are the main cause of carbon outflows, while the intermediate inputs of the electricity and transport sectors are the primary cause of carbon outflows due to export production. Moreover, we propose an intensity-based shared responsibility strategy and find that China should take the most responsibility because it is responsible for nearly 32% of all embodied emissions, due to its less efficient and high carbon-intensive technologies. The USA and the EU follow China, with shares of 13.2% and 11.3%, respectively, owing to their heavy consumption. As a result, China and the USA contribute 31.8% and 20.6%, respectively, of the total global emissions, outweighing the aggregated contribution from all other countries/regions.

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Zhu, Y., Shi, Y., Wu, J., Wu, L., & Xiong, W. (2018). Exploring the Characteristics of CO2 Emissions Embodied in International Trade and the Fair Share of Responsibility. Ecological Economics, 146, 574–587. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.12.020

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