This graphic was produced to illustrate the key arguments of an academic article exploring the effect of changes in trade patterns, particularly increasing international sourcing, on global CO2-emissions growth. The paper estimates the “emission cost of sourcing”: the increase in emissions resulting from replacing domestic products by imports from countries with more CO2-intensive technologies. The paper finds that changes in sourcing patterns between 1995 and 2007 contribute (1) to reducing emissions in high-wage countries and (2) to increasing emissions in low-wage countries, with a net effect amounting to 18% of total global CO2-emissions growth. This calls into question climate change policies based on territorial (national) emissions and suggests the benefit of transferring cleaner technologies to low-wage countries. The graphic is intended to convey both the overall scale of emissions transfer from high-wage to low-wage countries (1.5 Gt), as well as the more detailed emission flows related to international trade.
Source: Hoekstra, Michel & Suh, “The emission cost of international sourcing: using structural decomposition analysis to calculate the contribution of international sourcing to CO2-emission growth” in Economic Systems Research, Volume 28, Issue 2 (2016), pp 151-67.
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