Inderscience Publishers

Carbon emissions embodied in the international trade of China: a hypothesised-country-based study

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Based on the hypothesised-country assumption, this paper chooses South Korea’s technical coefficients as those of China’s imports. Using the input-output tables of both China and South Korea, this paper calculates China’s trade-embodied carbon emissions and its sectoral breakdown between 2001 and 2010. Some interesting results are obtained. First, if China’s technical coefficients are used to calculate carbon emissions avoided through imports, China is found to be a net importer of trade-embodied carbon from 2001 to 2005 and a net exporter of trade-embodied carbon from 2006 and 2009, and in 2010 it became a net importer of embodied carbon once again. If Korea’s technical coefficients are used to calculate embodied carbon in China’s imports, China is found to be always a net exporter of trade-embodied carbon. The sectoral breakdown of trade-embodied carbon shows that manufacturing industries are the decisive factor on embodied carbon. The rapid expansion of export increases total CO
2
emissions in China. Both China and its trade partners have benefited from these CO
2
emissions and all of them should be held responsible for climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions.

Keywords: embodied carbon emissions, international trade, IO analysis, China

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