Perspective | Published:

Interpreting trade-related CO2 emission transfers

Nature Climate Change volume 3, pages 1923 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

Most industrialized countries are net importers of carbon emissions, that is, they release fewer emissions for the production of their total exported goods and services than the amount generated (by their trading partners) for producing their total imported goods and services1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. But what do such carbon trade-deficits imply in terms of global CO2 emissions and the design of carbon trade-policies? Drawing on trade theory, this Perspective argues that a deeper understanding of these observed net emission transfers is required to assess how international trade affects global emissions and proposes a method to disentangle the underlying determinants of such transfers.

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Acknowledgements

We want to thank J. Steckel for discussions and general support. Further comments from O. Edenhofer, J. Siegmeier and J. Minx are gratefully acknowledged. K. Caldeira provided an extensive review that helped to remove several inaccuracies. We are also indebted to M. Wodinski for designing the figures and U. Kornek for assistance with the trade data. All remaining errors are those of the authors.

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Affiliations

  1. Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PO Box 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany

    • Michael Jakob
    •  & Robert Marschinski
  2. Technische Universität Berlin, Economics of Climate Change Department, Strasse des 17 Juni 145, 10623 Berlin, Germany

    • Robert Marschinski

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert Marschinski.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1630

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