One-third of China’s carbon footprint comes from producing goods for export. That’s up from an estimate of 25 percent only 10 months ago.
Now a new paper in Energy Policy say China’s export emissions equaled 1.7 billion tons of CO2 in 2005. That’s 6% of total global emissions. The same as Germany, France, and the UK combined.
Many of the industries producing these emissions make electronics for the rich world. Which gets sticky when you realize that international policy penalizes the producer country, not the consumer. China, understandably, thinks that’s wrong, reports New Scientist:
“In some measure, it makes sense if people buy goods and become liable for the emissions generated when the goods are produced,” says Benito Müller of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, UK. “They will certainly be more choosy about what they buy.”
Even Chinese consumers.
Julia Whitty is Mother Jones’ environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the Kiriyama Prize and the John Burroughs Medal Award.