Sharing responsibility for emissions among producers and consumers could facilitate international agreement on global climate policy that is now hindered by concerns over the regional and historical inequity of emissions. Consumption-based accounting of CO2 presents an opportunity to move the global debate forward, hopefully in a positive direction.
In a paper published in PNAS 23rd March 2010, Davis and Caldeira present the latest available data on global consumption-based CO2 emissions inventory and calculations of associated consumption-based energy and carbon intensities. Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions differs from traditional, production-based inventories because of imports and exports of goods and services that, either directly or indirectly, involve
This study reveals that in 2004, 23% of global CO2 emissions, or 6.2 gigatonnes of CO2, were traded internationally, primarily as exports from China and other emerging markets to consumers in developed countries. In some wealthy countries, including Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, the United Kingdom, and France, >30% of consumption-based emissions were imported, with net imports to many Europeans of >4 tons CO2 per person in 2004. CO2 emissions. Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions demonstrates the potential for international carbon leakage.
See full article in PNAS March 23, 2010 vol. 107 no. 12 pp 5687-5692