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Trade, Technique and Composition Effects: What is Behind the Fall in World-wide SO2 Emissions, 1990-2000?

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  • de Melo, Jaime
  • Grether, Jean-Marie
  • Mathys, Nicole Andréa

Abstract

Combining unique data bases on emissions with sectoral output and employment data, we study the sources of the fall in world-wide SO2 emissions and estimate the impact of trade on emissions. Contrarily to concerns raised by environmentalists, an emission-decomposition exercise shows that scale effects are dominated by technique effects working towards a reduction in emissions. A second exercise comparing the actual trade situation with an autarky benchmark estimates that trade, by allowing clean countries to become net importers of emissions, leads to a 10% increase in world emissions with respect to autarky in 1990, a figure that shrinks to 3.5% in 2000. Additionally, back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that emissions related to transport are of smaller magnitude, roughly 3% in both periods. In a third exercise, we use linear programming to simulate extreme situations where world emissions are either maximal or minimal. It turns out that effective emissions correspond to a 90% reduction with respect to the worst case, but that another 80% reduction could be reached if emissions were minimal.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6522.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6522

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Keywords: decomposition; embodied emissions in trade; Environment; Growth; Trade; transport;

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  1. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and the Environment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 7-71, March.
  2. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 2005. "Is Trade Good or Bad for the Environment? Sorting Out the Causality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 85-91, February.
  3. Jean-Marie Grether & Nicole A. Mathys & Jaime de Melo, 2011. "Unravelling the Worldwide Pollution Haven Effect," Working Papers 2011.75, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Arik Levinson, 2008. "Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing," NCEE Working Paper Series 200802, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Feb 2008.
  5. Jean-Marie Grether & Jaime de Melo, 2003. "Globalization and Dirty Industries: Do Pollution Havens Matter?," NBER Working Papers 9776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Werner Antweiler & Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2001. "Is Free Trade Good for the Environment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 877-908, September.
  7. Céline Carrère & Maurice Schiff, 2005. "On the Geography of Trade. Distance is Alive and Well," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 56(6), pages 1249-1274.
  8. Miketa, Asami & Mulder, Peter, 2005. "Energy productivity across developed and developing countries in 10 manufacturing sectors: Patterns of growth and convergence," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 429-453, May.
  9. Stern, David I., 2002. "Explaining changes in global sulfur emissions: an econometric decomposition approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 201-220, August.
  10. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," NBER Working Papers 3914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. David I. Stern, 2005. "Reversal in the Trend of Global Anthropogenic Sulfur Emissions," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0504, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
  12. Hettige, Hemamala & Martin, Paul & Singh, Manjula & Wheeler,David R., 1995. "The industrial pollution projection system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1431, The World Bank.
  13. Cole, Matthew A. & Elliott, Robert J. R., 2003. "Determining the trade-environment composition effect: the role of capital, labor and environmental regulations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 363-383, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Cunha, Barbara & Mani, Muthukumara, 2011. "DR-CAFTA and the environment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5826, The World Bank.

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