International trade separates regions consuming goods and services from regions where goods and related aerosol pollution are produced. Yet the role of trade in aerosol climate forcing attributed to different regions has never been quantified. Here, we contrast the direct radiative forcing of aerosols related to regions’ consumption of goods and services against the forcing due to emissions produced in each region. Aerosols assessed include black carbon, primary organic aerosol, and secondary inorganic aerosols, including sulfate, nitrate and ammonium. We find that global aerosol radiative forcing due to emissions produced in East Asia is much stronger than the forcing related to goods and services ultimately consumed in that region because of its large net export of emissions-intensive goods. The opposite is true for net importers such as Western Europe and North America: global radiative forcing related to consumption is much greater than the forcing due to emissions produced in these regions. Overall, trade is associated with a shift of radiative forcing from net importing to net exporting regions. Compared to greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, the short atmospheric lifetimes of aerosols cause large localized differences between consumption- and production-related radiative forcing. International efforts to reduce emissions in the exporting countries will help alleviate trade-related climate and health impacts of aerosols while lowering global emissions.
At a glance
- 2013). et al. in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (eds Stocker, T. F. et al.) Ch. 8 (IPCC, Cambridge Univ. Press,
- Bounding the role of black carbon in the climate system: a scientific assessment. J. Geophys. Res. 118, 5380–5552 (2013). et al.
- Efficacy of climate forcings. J. Geophys. Res. 110, D18104 (2005). et al.
- Strong radiative heating due to the mixing state of black carbon in atmospheric aerosols. Nature 409, 695–697 (2001).
- Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon. Nat. Geosci. 1, 221–227 (2008). &
- Aerosol and cloud effects on solar brightening and the recent rapid warming. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L12708 (2008). et al.
- Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century. Nat. Geosci. 2, 294–300 (2009). &
- Anthropogenic aerosols and the weakening of the South Asian summer monsoon. Science 334, 502–505 (2011). , &
- Climatic effects of 1950–2050 changes in US anthropogenic aerosols–Part 2: climate response. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 12, 3349–3362 (2012). et al.
- Assessing the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on Pacific storm track using a multiscale global climate model. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 6894–6899 (2014). et al.
- Global air quality and climate. Chem. Soc. Rev. 41, 6663–6683 (2012). et al.
- Observational relationships between aerosol and Asian monsoon rainfall, and circulation. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L21810 (2006). &
- China’s international trade and air pollution in the United States. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 1736–1741 (2014). et al.
- Reduced carbon emission estimates from fossil fuel combustion and cement production in China. Nature 524, 335–338 (2015). et al.
- Does ecologically unequal exchange occur? Ecol. Econ. 89, 177–186 (2013). , , &
- 2014). et al. in Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change (eds Edenhofer, O. et al.) Ch. 5 (IPCC, Cambridge Univ. Press,
- The socioeconomic drivers of China’s primary PM2. 5 emissions. Environ. Res. Lett. 9, 024010 (2014). et al.
- Growth in emission transfers via international trade from 1990 to 2008. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 8903–8908 (2011). , , &
- Embodied environmental emissions in US international trade, 1997–2004. Environ. Sci. Technol. 41, 4875–4881 (2007). &
- International trade undermines national emission reduction targets: new evidence from air pollution. Glob. Environ. Change 24, 52–59 (2014). , , &
- Assessment of China’s virtual air pollution transport embodied in trade by using a consumption-based emission inventory. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15, 5443–5456 (2015). et al.
- Subtantial nitrogen pollution embodied in international trade. Nat. Geosci. 9, 111–115 (2016). et al.
- Production-based emissions, consumption-based emissions and consumption-based health impacts of PM 2.5 carbonaceous aerosols in Asia. Atmos. Environ. 97, 406–415 (2014). et al.
- 2012). , & Global Trade, Assistance, and Production: The GTAP 8 Data Base (Center for Global Trade Analysis, Purdue University,
- A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 380, 2224–2260 (2012). et al.
- Revealing the hidden health costs embodied in Chinese exports. Environ. Sci. Technol. 49, 4381–4388 (2015). et al.
- Sulfur dioxide and primary carbonaceous aerosol emissions in China and India, 1996–2010. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 11, 9839–9864 (2011). , &
- Cleaning China’s air. Nature 484, 161–162 (2012). , &
- China Enhanced Actions On Climate Change: China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (Department of Climate Change, National Development & Reform Commission of China, 2015).
- India India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution: Working Towards Climate Justice (Government of India, 2015).
- A synthesis of carbon in international trade. Biogeosciences 9, 3247–3276 (2012). , &
- Supplementary Information (3,100 KB)