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GTAP Resource #6537

"The Carbon Footprint of Global Trade Imbalances"
by Mahlkow, Hendrik and Joschka Wanner

A large share of global carbon emissions arises in the production of goods that are consumed in a different country and from burning fossil fuels that have been extracted yet elsewhere. The flows of carbon embodied in trade are highly asymmetrical, decoupling territorial emissions (or what we will call production footprints) from consumption footprints and from what we call extraction or supply footprints. At the same time, trade is highly and persistently unbalanced in value terms, too, allowing this decoupling to be even more pronounced — with a priori ambiguous environmental consequences. Prominently, the two countries with the largest net ex- and imports of carbon (China and the US) have at the same time consistently been among the countries with the largest trade surplus and deficit, respectively, and many large fossil fuel exporters have been running persistent trade surpluses. We investigate the effects of global value trade imbalances on carbon emissions around the world. To this end, we build a Ricardian quantitative trade model including sectoral input-output linkages, trade imbalances, fossil fuel extraction, and carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion. For every individual country, the emission effect of re- moving its trade imbalance depends on the carbon intensities of its production and consumption patterns, as well as on its fossil resource abundance. The simultaneous removal of all global trade imbalances is found to lower world carbon emissions by 0.62 percent or 184 million tons of carbon dioxide. Out of all individual countries’ imbalances, eliminating the Qatari trade surplus and the US trade deficit would lead to the largest environmental benefits in terms of lower global emissions.

Resource Details (Export Citation) GTAP Keywords
Category: 2022 Conference Paper
Status: Not published
By/In: Presented during the 25th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis (Virtual Conference)
Date: 2022
Created: Mahlkow, H. (4/13/2022)
Updated: Mahlkow, H. (5/27/2022)
Visits: 428
- Advances in quantitative methods
- Model extension/development
- Trade and the environment
- GTAP Data Base and extensions
- New quantitative trade models

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