Study Says Pollution in Developing Countries is from Goods Exported to West

'We need to understand the full life cycle of all the goods and services that we are purchasing and selling'

  • Share
  • Read Later
Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

Smoke from a chimney is silhouetted against the rising sun in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, Jan. 6, 2014

A significant and growing share of carbon pollution attributed to China and other emerging economies is generated from producing goods that end up in the United States and Europe, according to a new study.

“A growing share of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels combustion in developing countries is released in the production of goods and services exported, notably from upper-middle-income countries to high-income countries,” says the draft United Nations report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be published in April, the Guardian reports.

China and other emerging economies have more than doubled their annual carbon dioxide emissions since 2000 to nearly 14 gigatons a year. The draft report says, however, that about 2 gigatons of that was as a result of making goods for exports.

Analysts say the outsourcing of these emissions has made it difficult to account for global emissions on a national basis. “We need to understand the full life cycle of all the goods and services that we are purchasing and selling,” Cynthia Cummis, a greenhouse gas accounting expert from the World Resources Institute, told the Guardian.

Unless deep cuts to emissions are made, governments may have to turn to experimental techniques, such as sucking carbon dioxide from the air, the report warns.

[Guardian]