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Will economic restructuring in China reduce trade-embodied CO2 emissions?

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  • Qi, Tianyu
  • Winchester, Niven
  • Karplus, Valerie J.
  • Zhang, Xiliang

Abstract

We calculate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions embodied in China's net exports using a multi-regional input–output database. We find that the majority of China's export-embodied CO2 is associated with production of machinery and equipment rather than energy-intensive products, such as steel and aluminum. In 2007, the largest net recipients of embodied CO2 emissions from China include the EU (360millionmetrictons, mmt), the US (337mmt) and Japan (109mmt). Overall, annual CO2 emissions embodied in China's net exports totaled 1177mmt, equal to 22% of China's total CO2 emissions. We also develop a global general equilibrium model with a detailed treatment of energy and CO2 emissions. We use the model to analyze the impact of a sectoral shift in the Chinese economy away from industry and towards services, both without and with a decrease in China's trade surplus, and a tax on energy-intensive exports, which reflect policy objectives in China's Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011–2015). We find that without a decrease in the trade surplus, both policies will have a limited impact on China's net exports of embodied CO2 emissions. The policies have an even smaller effect on global emissions, as reduced production in China is partially offset by increased production elsewhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Qi, Tianyu & Winchester, Niven & Karplus, Valerie J. & Zhang, Xiliang, 2014. "Will economic restructuring in China reduce trade-embodied CO2 emissions?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 204-212.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:42:y:2014:i:c:p:204-212
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2013.12.011
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Embodied CO2 emissions; Multi-regional input-output analysis; Computable general equilibrium (CGE) analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • C67 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Input-Output Models
    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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