Don’t You Just Love China ?

I really love China. It’s a country with noble ambitions, to protect and prosper its people, and to advance its economic development through trade across the world.

The rest of the world love China, too. They have outsourced all their manufacture, and other services such as recycling, to the powerhouse that is China, where the labour is cheap and the people work willingly.

Ah ! The joys of the globalisation of trade ! Now we can have everything we want and somebody else can burn the Fossil Fuels to make it all, and we can’t be blamed !

Part of the reason why China was not really keen on signing up to the Copenhagen Accord was that they did not want to have their economic development halted in its tracks by being obliged to cut their Carbon Dioxide emissions.

But if a new system of accounting for Carbon Emissions takes off, based on Consumption rather than Production (like in the Kyoto Protocol), then China might be really off the hook :-”

“Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions : Steven J. Davis and Ken Caldeira : CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are the primary cause of global warming. Much attention has been focused on the CO2 directly emitted by each country, but relatively little attention has been paid to the amount of emissions associated with the consumption of goods and services in each country. Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions differs from traditional, production-based inventories because of imports and exports of goods and services that, either directly or indirectly, involve CO2 emissions. Here, using the latest available data, we present a global consumption-based CO2 emissions inventory and calculations of associated consumption-based energy and carbon intensities. We find that, in 2004, 23% of global CO2 emissions, or 6.2 gigatonnes CO2, were traded internationally, primarily as exports from China and other emerging markets to consumers in developed countries. In some wealthy countries, including Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, the United Kingdom, and France, >30% of consumption-based emissions were imported, with net imports to many Europeans of >4 tons CO2 per person in 2004. Net import of emissions to the United States in the same year was somewhat less: 10.8% of total consumption-based emissions and 2.4 tons CO2 per person. In contrast, 22.5% of the emissions produced in China in 2004 were exported, on net, to consumers elsewhere. Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions demonstrates the potential for international carbon leakage. Sharing responsibility for emissions among producers and consumers could facilitate international agreement on global climate policy that is now hindered by concerns over the regional and historical inequity of emissions.”

“EU ‘imports’ a third of its carbon emissions”

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