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Who Should Bear the Cost of China's Carbon Emissions Embodied in Goods for Exports?

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  • Zhongxiang Zhang

    () (East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)

Abstract

China's capital-intensive, export-oriented, spectacular economic growth since launching its open-door policy and economic reforms in late 1978 not only has created jobs and has lifted millions of the Chinese people out of poverty, but also has given rise to unprecedented environmental pollution and CO2 emissions. While estimates of the embedded CO2 emissions in China's trade differ, both single country studies for China and global studies show a hefty chunk of China's CO2 emissions embedded in trade. This portion of CO2 emissions had helped to turn China into the world's largest carbon emitter, and is further widening its gap with the second largest emitter. This raises the issue of who should be responsible for this portion of emissions and bearing the carbon cost of exports. China certainly wants importers to cover some, if not all, of that costs. While China's stance is understandable, this paper has argued from a broad and balanced perspective that if this is pushed too far, it will not help to find solutions to this issue. On the contrary it can be to China's disadvantage for a number of reasons. However, aligning this responsibility with China does not necessarily suggest the sole reliance on domestic actions. In that context, the paper recommends specific actions that need to be taken internationally as well as domestically in order to effectively control the embedded CO2 emissions in China's trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhongxiang Zhang, 2011. "Who Should Bear the Cost of China's Carbon Emissions Embodied in Goods for Exports?," CCEP Working Papers 1114, Centre for Climate & Energy Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:ccepwp:1114
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. New CCEP Working Papers
      by David Stern in Stochastic Trend on 2011-09-28 14:49:00

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • P28 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Natural Resources; Environment
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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