Robbie Andrew

CICERO Center for International Climate ResearchHome   |   About me   |   Contact me

Emissions embodied in global trade have plateaued due to structural changes in China


In the 2000s, the rapid growth of CO2 emitted in the production of exports from developing to developed countries, in which China accounted for the dominant share, led to concerns that climate polices had been undermined by international trade. Arguments on "carbon leakage" and "competitiveness"-which led to the refusal of the U.S. to ratify the Kyoto Protocol-put pressure on developing countries, especially China, to limit their emissions with Border Carbon Adjustments used as one threat. After strong growth in the early 2000s, emissions exported from developing to developed countries plateaued and could have even decreased since 2007. These changes were mainly due to China: In 2002-2007, China's exported emissions grew by 827 MtCO2, amounting to almost all the 892 MtCO2 total increase in emissions exported from developing to developed countries, while in 2007-2012, emissions exported from China decreased by 229 MtCO2, contributing to the total decrease of 172 MtCO2 exported from developing to developed countries. We apply Structural Decomposition Analysis to find that, in addition to the diminishing effects of the global financial crisis, the slowdown and eventual plateau was largely explained by several potentially permanent changes in China: Decline in export volume growth, improvements in CO2 intensity, and changes in production structure and the mix of exported products. We argue that growth in China's exported emissions will not return to the high levels during the 2000s, therefore the arguments for climate polices focused on embodied emissions such as Border Carbon Adjustments are now weakened.

Spatial spillover effects within China

Just as with international trade, trade within China can drive regional emissions. Here Meng and colleagues analyse the spatial spillover effects between regions in China.Learn more »

How much Chinese coal?

China’s coal consumption grew enormously through the 2000s, leading to rapid growth in emissions of CO2. But how much did they grow? Uncertainty around China’s coal consumption data persist, and Jan Ivar Korsbakken and colleagues present the latest.Learn more »

A synthesis of carbon in international trade

In this comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the analysis of carbon embodied in international trade, Glen Peters and colleagues bring together treatments of some of the key issues, and introduce important new analyses. Learn more »

Web design by Robbie Andrew