Links in the chain: Global carbon emissions and consumption

Oct 17, 2011

It is difficult to measure accurately each nation's contribution of carbon dioxide to the Earth's atmosphere. Carbon is extracted out of the ground as coal, gas, and oil, and these fuels are often exported to other countries where they are burned to generate the energy that is used to make products. In turn, these products may be traded to still other countries where they are consumed. A team led by Carnegie's Steven Davis, and including Ken Caldeira, tracked and quantified this supply chain of global carbon dioxide emissions. Their work will be published online by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of October 17.

Traditionally, the carbon dioxide emitted by is attributed to the country where the fuels were burned. But until now, there has not yet been a full accounting of emissions taking into consideration the entire supply chain, from where fuels originate all the way to where products made using the fuels are ultimately consumed.

"Policies seeking to regulate emissions will affect not only the parties burning fuels but also those who extract fuels and consume products. No emissions exist in isolation, and everyone along the supply chain benefits from carbon-based fuels," Davis said.

He and Caldeira, along with Glen Peters from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway, based their analysis on fossil energy resources of coal, oil, , and secondary fuels traded among 58 industrial sectors and 112 countries in 2004.

They found that fossil resources are highly concentrated and that the majority of fuel that is exported winds up in . Most of the countries that import a lot of fossil fuels also tend to import a lot of products. China is a notable exception to this trend.

Davis and Caldeira say that their results show that enacting carbon pricing mechanisms at the point of extraction could be efficient and avoid the relocation of industries that could result from regulation at the point of combustion. Manufacturing of goods may shift from one country to another, but fossil resources are geographically fixed.

They found that regulating the fossil fuels extracted in China, the US, the Middle East, Russia, Canada, Australia, India, and Norway would cover 67% of global . The incentive to participate would be the threat of missing out on revenues from carbon-linked tariffs imposed further down the .

Incorporating gross domestic product into these analyses highlights which countries' economies are most reliant on domestic resources of fossil energy and which economies are most dependent on traded fuels.

"The country of extraction gets to sell their products and earn foreign exchange. The country of production gets to buy less-expensive fuels and therefore sell less-expensive products. The country of consumption gets to buy products at lower cost." Caldeira said. "However, we all have an interest in preventing the climate risk that the use of these fuels entails."

Explore further: Spain defends Canaries oil drilling plan

More information: To look at the data, please visit: supplychainco2.stanford.edu/

Provided by Carnegie Institution

4.3 /5 (6 votes)

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User comments : 11

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Arkaleus
2 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2011
I'm sorry, but I'm just a little too dense to understand who or what it is that intends to "regulate" and "allow" these countries to trade their resources. Or others to buy them.

Did I miss the election of the emperor of the world? Was a global government already underway?

Sorry, I guess I'm a little out of date. So by taxing all nations under a single system of global control, who or what entity gets that money? And to what authority is that entity liable?
LVT
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 17, 2011
I'm sure the evidence that a Bureaucratic run world economy would be efficient is clear.

After all, the success of the Bureaucrats running the USSR and China are well known for their green economies.

Or is it just more of the AGW scam to rip the public off.
StarGazer2011
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2011
this horse has already bolted in Australia, only local emissions are counted, fossil fuels are exported without any CO2 price attached.
deepsand
5 / 5 (8) Oct 17, 2011
Or is it just more of the AGW scam to rip the public off.

Or, part of the anti-AGW scam to rip off the public.

Consider who gets rich by ignoring GW & mankind's role.

Hint: It's not the public at large.
astro_optics
1 / 5 (3) Oct 18, 2011
Arkaleus , don't worry about it...it's simply just a giant PONZI sheme, pure and simple!
deepsand
5 / 5 (7) Oct 18, 2011
Ponzi scheme?

Just where is the essential exponential element in an infinite series that defines such?
jackofshadows
1 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2011
Hell I could have told these yahoos this twenty years ago. The sheer scale of data collection required is sizable although not impossible using RFID at every step. Speaking as an economist (I am an engineer most days), their audacity is amazing. The micro-econometric data would have a value in and of itself. Tracking global supply-chains today is very much hit-or-miss and the amount of fabricated data (lying), whether private or public, huge. In any case, they haven't settled on even one political-economic matter. Who mandates this? Where are the data stored and analyzed and by whom? Can this agency be trusted? Who enforces this at the international level (and with what nuclear weapons after economic sanctions fail.)?
Arkaleus
1 / 5 (3) Oct 18, 2011
I don't know if its a ponzi scam, it seems more like a shadow faction putsch. It's like green Bolshevism, where instead of a utopia for workers you have a utopia for the rulers.

Instead of 5 year plans to industrialize, they force de-industrialization to neutralize the ability of independent nation states to mobilize outside of the its global command system. Once emasculated, the rulers of the combine embezzle the proceeds of pollution credits to build their mono-caste prison planet, where the masses are enslaved in a perpetual illusion of freedom with just enough commerce to placate the consumer. Police powers will be extended to deal with independent sources of information and dissent, and all cultural traditions of rational liberty or limited government will be banned and abolished.

Your future will be dictated, and your past abolished.

Welcome to the war against YOU. Did you help it along back in 2011?
deepsand
5 / 5 (6) Oct 18, 2011
That war has long been prosecuted by those who want you to believe that the business of the world is Big Business.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2011
"I'm sure the evidence that a Bureaucratic run world economy would be efficient is clear." - LVTard

By what logic do you conclude that the U.S. economy where more than 80 percent of labor is unproductive, is in any way "efficient"?

Please try to avoid sounding like a fool in your response.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2011
Welcome to the war against YOU. Did you help it along back in 2011?
What war? What taxes? Who is being taxed?

You asked the right question to begin with then forgot there is an answer.

So by taxing all nations under a single system of global control, who or what entity gets that money? And to what authority is that entity liable?
There isn't one. This is not going to happen as it would require a world government with a significant economic authority to both tax and observe in all participating nations.

So since you have been going berserk over this how about you tell us just who the hell it doing it.

The answer is no one and it isn't going to happen. There is zero of chance of the US joining in such a thing in the foreseeable future. Its an interesting economic model, proposed in the US by Republicans, that is politically unrealistic.

Now if the sea levels rise a foot or so then all bets are off. The cost of a continuing rise would be staggering.

Ethelred