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Trade and the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from International Freight Transport

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  • Anca D. Cristea
  • David Hummels
  • Laura Puzzello
  • Misak G. Avetisyan

Abstract

We collect extensive data on worldwide trade by transportation mode and use this to provide detailed comparisons of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with output versus international transportation of traded goods. International transport is responsible for 33 percent of world-wide trade-related emissions, and over 75 percent of emissions for major manufacturing categories like machinery, electronics and transport equipment. US exports intensively make use of air cargo; as a result two-thirds of its export-related emissions are due to international transport, and US exports by themselves generate a third of transport emissions worldwide. Inclusion of transport dramatically changes the ranking of countries by emission intensity. US production emissions per dollar of exports are 16 percent below the world average, but once we include transport US emissions per dollar exported are 59 percent above the world average. We use our data to systematically investigate whether trade inclusive of transport can lower emissions. In one-quarter of cases, the difference in output emissions is more than enough to compensate for the emissions cost of transport. Finally, we examine how likely patterns of trade growth will affect modal use and emissions. Full liberalization of tariffs and GDP growth concentrated in China and India lead to transport emissions growing much faster than the value of trade, due to trade shifting toward distant trading partners. Emissions growth from growing GDP dwarfs any growth from tariff liberalization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17117.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17117

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References

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  1. Arik Levinson, 2009. "Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from US Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2177-92, December.
  2. Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika & Ekstrom, Marianne Pipping & Shanahan, Helena, 2003. "Food and life cycle energy inputs: consequences of diet and ways to increase efficiency," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2-3), pages 293-307, March.
  3. Cadarso, María-Ángeles & López, Luis-Antonio & Gómez, Nuria & Tobarra, María-Ángeles, 2010. "CO2 emissions of international freight transport and offshoring: Measurement and allocation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1682-1694, June.
  4. Jean Marie Grether & Nicole A. Mathys & Jaime de Melo, 2008. "Global Manufacturing SO2 Emissions: Does Trade Matter?," Development Working Papers 263, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  5. Ahuja, Vinod & Filmer, Deon, 1995. "Educational attainments in developing countries : new estimates and projections disaggregated by gender," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1489, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Lee, Tsung-Chen & Chang, Young-Tae & Lee, Paul T.W., 2013. "Economy-wide impact analysis of a carbon tax on international container shipping," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 87-102.
  2. Hummels, David, 2001. "Time as a Trade Barrier," GTAP Working Papers 1152, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  3. Michael Keen & Ian Parry & Jon Strand, 2013. "Planes, ships and taxes: charging for international aviation and maritime emissions," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 28(76), pages 701-749, October.
  4. Malin Song & Nan Wu & Kaiya Wu, 2014. "Energy Consumption and Energy Efficiency of the Transportation Sector in Shanghai," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 702-717, February.
  5. Jaime de MELO, 2012. "Trade in a ‘Green Growth’ Development Strategy Global Scale Issues and Challenges," Working Papers P48, FERDI.
  6. López, Luis Antonio & Arce, Guadalupe & Zafrilla, Jorge Enrique, 2013. "Parcelling virtual carbon in the pollution haven hypothesis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 177-186.
  7. Pierre-Louis Vezina & David von Below, 2013. "The Trade Consequences of Pricey Oil," Economics Series Working Papers OxCarre Research Paper 11, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Martin Wermelinger, 2012. "Do "green" state measures make import patterns "climate-friendly"? The case of the Asia-Pacific region," FIW Working Paper series 079, FIW.
  9. Xiao Chen & Alan Woodland, 2013. "International trade and climate change," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 381-413, June.

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