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Embodied carbon in trade: a survey of the empirical literature

Sato, Misato ORCID: 0000-0002-9978-9595 (2013) Embodied carbon in trade: a survey of the empirical literature. Journal of Economic Surveys, 28 (5). pp. 831-861. ISSN 0950-0804

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Identification Number: 10.1111/joes.12027


This paper critically reviews the literature on embodied carbon in trade and evaluates our present empirical understanding of these flows. A careful comparison of quantitative results from this literature exposes significant inconsistencies. For instance, estimates for emission embodied in world trade in 2004 range between 4.4 Gt and 6.2 Gt CO2, the difference corresponding to around half of Europe's annual emissions. A few consistent themes do nevertheless emerge from the literature. Most importantly, emissions in trade constitute a large and growing share of global emissions. Uncertainty about country-level embodied emissions remains large, however, which presents severe limitations for the practical application of embodied carbon principles in climate policy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 16 May 2013 13:57
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:03

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