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The physical dimension of international trade, part 2: Indirect global resource flows between 1962 and 2005

  • Dittrich, Monika
  • Bringezu, Stefan
  • Schütz, Helmut
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    Global trade is increasingly being challenged by observations of growing burden shifting, in particular of environmental problems. This paper presents the first worldwide calculations of shifted burden based on material flow indicators, in particular direct and indirect physical trade balances. This study covers the period between 1962 and 2005 and includes between 82 and 173 countries per year. The results show that indirect trade flow volumes have increased to around 41billion tonnes in 2005. The traded resources with the highest share of associated indirect flows are iron, hard coal, copper, tin and increasingly palm oil. Regarding the burden balance between regions, Europe is the biggest shifter whereas Australia and Latin America are the largest takers of environmental burden due to resource extraction. To evaluate the findings from a global perspective, the results are analysed in terms of resource flow induced environmental pressure related to a country's land area in terms of total and per capita area. Resource endowment and population density seem to be more relevant in determining the physical trade balance, including indirect flows, than income level.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800912001656
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 79 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 32-43

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:79:y:2012:i:c:p:32-43
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.04.014
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. Dittrich, Monika & Bringezu, Stefan, 2010. "The physical dimension of international trade: Part 1: Direct global flows between 1962 and 2005," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1838-1847, July.
    2. Andersson, Jan Otto & Lindroth, Mattias, 2001. "Ecologically unsustainable trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 113-122, April.
    3. Wiedmann, Thomas & Lenzen, Manfred & Turner, Karen & Barrett, John, 2007. "Examining the global environmental impact of regional consumption activities -- Part 2: Review of input-output models for the assessment of environmental impacts embodied in trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 15-26, February.
    4. Muradian, Roldan & O'Connor, Martin & Martinez-Alier, Joan, 2002. "Embodied pollution in trade: estimating the 'environmental load displacement' of industrialised countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 51-67, April.
    5. Jiahua Pan & Jonathan Phillips & Ying Chen, 2008. "China's balance of emissions embodied in trade: approaches to measurement and allocating international responsibility," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 354-376, Summer.
    6. Ritthoff, Michael & Rohn, Holger & Liedtke, Christa, 2002. "Calculating MIPS: Resource productivity of products and services," Wuppertal Spezial, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, volume 27, number 27e.
    7. Machado, Giovani & Schaeffer, Roberto & Worrell, Ernst, 2001. "Energy and carbon embodied in the international trade of Brazil: an input-output approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 409-424, December.
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