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Embodied carbon in China’s foreign trade: An online SCI-E and SSCI based literature review

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  • Zhang, Zhonghua
  • Zhao, Yuhuan
  • Su, Bin
  • Zhang, Yongfeng
  • Wang, Song
  • Liu, Ya
  • Li, Hao

Abstract

This paper systematically presents a survey of the empirical literature studying the embodied CO2 emissions in China’s foreign trade (ECCT). Based on the bibliometric method and the online version of Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCI-E) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), this study summarizes the latest publications regarding ECCT in peer-reviewed journals in terms of quantities, most productive countries, institutions, authors, citations, and disciplines. By using synthetic analysis of keyword frequency, this study reveals the most popular methodologies applied in measuring ECCT, discusses the variation of numerical results in the literature, and reasons and countermeasures for the results uncertainties. Continuous investigation of the literature releases the methodology employed for measuring ECCT becoming more reasonable and the results more critical. However, the numerical results of ECCT are of great discrepancies within given year by different considerations on methodology specification, accounting principles, and data sources and processing. For instance, the estimates of CO2 embodied in China’s exports changed from 478Mt to over 3000Mt and those of in China’s imports ranged from 140Mt to over 1700Mt in 2007. Therefore, overcoming data inherent limitations and reducing discrepancies among available databases should be urgently considered. The results imply that the prospective research tendencies on ECCT are to (1) improve China’s regional input-output data and energy intensity data to more precise estimates under global perspective; (2) estimate China’s carbon emission at firm level by different firm ownerships in production and consumption worldwide; (3) assess China’s carbon emission from processing or non-processing trade by compiling more detailed multi-regional input-output table; (4) evaluate city level carbon mitigation capacity in China under global MRIO model; (5) explore new carbon management experience in China’s carbon trading market and new trade expansion policy of ‘one belt and one road’ in her new growth era.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Zhonghua & Zhao, Yuhuan & Su, Bin & Zhang, Yongfeng & Wang, Song & Liu, Ya & Li, Hao, 2017. "Embodied carbon in China’s foreign trade: An online SCI-E and SSCI based literature review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 68(P1), pages 492-510.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:68:y:2017:i:p1:p:492-510
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2016.10.009
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