Study: Globalization could undermine efforts to reduce CO2 emissions

From the UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA and the thwarted schemes department.

New research reveals the growth of carbon production from Chinese exports has slowed or reversed, reflecting a “new phase of globalisation” between developing countries that could undermine international efforts to reduce emissions.

The study, involving researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and colleagues in China and the United States, investigated how complex supply chains are distributing energy-intensive industries and their CO2 emissions throughout the global South. It found that trade among developing nations – known as South-South trade – more than doubled between 2004 and 2011.

Some production activities are relocating from China and India to other developing countries, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, particularly for raw materials and intermediate goods production in energy-intensive sectors.

In turn, the growth of CO2 emissions embodied in Chinese exports has slowed or reversed, while the emissions embodied in exports, such as textiles, from less-developed regions like Vietnam and Bangladesh have surged.

International trade increased by more than 50% from 2005 to 2015, with approximately 60% of the increase tied to rising exports from developing countries. Yet over the same period, South-South trade grew even faster – more than tripling – to reach 57% of all developing country exports (US$9.3 trillion) in 2014.

Publishing their findings in Nature Communications, the authors warn this trend may seriously undermine international efforts to reduce global emissions that increasingly rely on rallying voluntary contributions of more, smaller, and less-developed nations.

It follows research published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, in which the authors argue that the Chinese export-embodied CO2 emissions have peaked due to the changing structure of Chinese production. They suggest more attention should be focussed on ensuring countries that may partly replace China as major production bases increase their exports using low-carbon inputs.

Co-author on both studies Dabo Guan, professor in climate change economics at UEA’s School of International Development, said: “The rapid growth in South-South trade reflects a fragmenting of global supply chains whereby early-production stages of many industries have relocated from countries like China and India to lower-wage economies, a trend that has accelerated since the global financial crisis in 2008.

“In addition to their important implications for global economic development, these trends will affect the magnitude and regional distribution of future global CO2 emissions.”

Relatively little attention has been paid to the rapid rise of South-South trade since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. Yet the period since 2009 has also witnessed decreases in Chinese coal consumption that underpin a levelling off of global CO2 emissions, as well as the forging of the Paris Agreement whereby nations are determining their contributions to the global effort to reduce CO2 emissions.

“The carbon intensity of the next phase of global economic development will determine whether ambitious climate targets such as stabilizing at 2 °C will be met, and our findings depict the nascent rise of energy-intensive and emissions-intensive production activities in other Asian countries such as Vietnam and Pakistan,” said Prof Guan.

“The success of international climate mitigation efforts may therefore depend on curtailing growth of coal-based energy and emissions in now-industrialising and urbanising countries. Otherwise, countries like China and India may meet their nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement by hollowing out low-value, energy-intensive manufacturing, and offshoring those activities to emerging markets elsewhere in Asia with less stringent climate policy measures.

“Successfully mitigating climate change therefore urgently depends on decarbonising not only energy systems in developed countries but also the entire process of industrialization.”

The researchers used the latest available data on international trade and CO2 emissions from 2004, 2007 and 2011 to track emissions related to both intermediate and final goods and services from 57 industry sectors that were traded among 129 regions (101 of which are individual countries).

In total, CO2 emissions embodied in goods and services exported from developing countries increased by 46% between 2004 and 2011, from 2.2 to 3.3 gigatonnes (Gts). Although a substantial and growing quantity of these emissions were represented in exports to developed regions (1.8 Gt in 2004 and 2.2 Gt in 2011, growing by an average of 2.9% per year), the emissions embodied in South-South trade increased much more rapidly: from 0.47 Gt in 2004 to 1.1 Gt in 2011 (1.33% per year). The growth is mainly driven by the increasing export volume and partly offset by a decline in emission intensity.


‘The rise of South-South trade and its effect on global CO2 emissions’, Jing Meng, Zhifu Mi, Dabo Guan, Jiashuo Li, Shu Tao, Yuan Li, Kuishuang Feng, Junfeng Liu, Zhu Liu, Xuejun Wang, Qiang Zhang, and Steven J Davis, is published in Nature Communications on May 14, 2018.

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Len Jay
May 15, 2018 4:30 am

University of East Anglica. University of East Anglica. Now where have I heard that name before

Reply to  Len Jay
May 15, 2018 6:22 am

Yours aye, to all you carbon-based life forms out there, from your most dedicated fan,
Allan MacRae of the Clan MacRae
1. Atmospheric CO2 is not alarmingly high; in fact, it is dangerously low for the survival of terrestrial carbon-based life on Earth. Most plants evolved with up to 4000 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, or about 10 times current CO2 concentrations.
2. In one of the next global Ice Ages, atmospheric CO2 will approach about 150ppm, a concentration at which terrestrial photosynthesis will slow and cease – and that will be the extinction event for much or all of the terrestrial carbon-based life on this planet.
3. More atmospheric CO2 is highly beneficial to all carbon-based life on Earth. Therefore, CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.
4. As a devoted fan of carbon-based life on this planet, I feel the duty to advocate on our behalf. I should point out that I am not prejudiced against non-carbon-based life forms. They might be very nice, but I do not know any of them well enough to form an opinion. 🙂
The global cooling period from ~1940 to 1975 (during a time of increasing atmospheric CO2) demonstrates that climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO2 is near-zero – so close to zero as to be insignificant.
This and other evidence strongly supports the conclusion that there is NO global warming crisis, except in the fevered minds of warmist propagandists.
There is overwhelming evidence that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans is not dangerously high – it is dangerously low, too low for the continued survival of life on Earth.
I have written about the vital issue of “CO2 starvation” since 2009 or earlier, and others including Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, have also written on this subject:

Reply to  Allan MacRae
May 15, 2018 6:38 am

“The global cooling period from ~1940 to 1975 (during a time of increasing atmospheric CO2) demonstrates that climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO2 is near-zero – so close to zero as to be insignificant.”
CAGW promoters don’t want to talk about the 1930’s/40’s. And this is why. It blows up their claims of “hotter and hotter!”.

michael hart
Reply to  Allan MacRae
May 15, 2018 9:02 am

Even today, the BBC has given space to an article attempting to downplay the effect of carbon dioxide on global forest growth.
I’m pretty sure they haven’t yet finished plumbing the depths in their debasement of science.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Allan MacRae
May 15, 2018 9:07 am

Agree completely. Anybody that would dispute this is suicidal.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Allan MacRae
May 15, 2018 9:15 am

The study trying to debunk the theory that increasing CO2 has increased tree growth FORGETS that they are talking about the wrong theory. The correct theory is that increasing CO2 levels have caused increased PLANT growth including forests and trees. Because the study only focused on the increased tree growth they couldn’t see the forest because of the trees.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
May 15, 2018 9:24 am

“…global cooling period from ~1940 to 1975…”
Ehrlich’s Population Bomb book in 1968 blamed overpopulation for crop production problems, when the real culprit was likely global cooling and post-WWII reconstruction and political instability, e.g. Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” that slaughtered 10s of millions in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
May 15, 2018 11:32 am

Notanist wrote above:
“… e.g. Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” that slaughtered 10s of millions in the 1950s and early 1960s.”
I call it “Mao’s “Great Leap Backward” – Lysenkoism did not help.
Best, Allan

Reply to  Allan MacRae
May 15, 2018 7:32 pm

“. . . globalization could undermine efforts to reduce CO2 emissions . . . ”
Would someone please lend the co-author of these studies a cell phone so he/she/it can notify someone who cares . . .
“ . . . successfully mitigating climate change . . . depends on decarbonizing not only energy systems in developed countries but also the entire process of industrialization. . .”
Never mind. Would a person nearby the good professor give a jingle to boys with the white sports coats and wrap-around sleeves?

Reply to  Len Jay
May 15, 2018 8:16 am

“A 1900-2010 Instrumental Global Temperature Record That Closely Aligns With Paleo-Proxy Data”

Reply to  Len Jay
May 15, 2018 3:59 pm

Never heard of University of East AngliCa

May 15, 2018 4:31 am

But of course such poor countries cannot afford to pander to green groops, thais if they even have them.
Only richer countries can afford to cater to the ” dreamers” who believe in fairy tales, just as in the western countries only the very well off can afford a so called ” green life style” and their massive carbon footprint.
Perhaps if the calculations as to how much “co2” each western country actually emits is to add the carbon coso on all the imports fro the poir countries.
Its cheating to in effect “off shore” the countries co2 to another country and to then polish their green halo & say how good they are to keep their emissions down

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  M.j.elliott
May 15, 2018 10:29 am

The reason that the authors fret about the small developing countries having increased CO2 emissions is that the worldwide measuring system for CO2 emissions is a joke with an error factor bigger than 20%. Having small developing countries try to measure their increasing CO2 emissions is like trying to measure the amount of water escaping from a dam with no collection pot to measure the output, At least with China they had lots of bureaucracy to try to measure it (even though they lie every time). With small developing countries having a larger role; the measurements of emissions will be little more than a guess.

May 15, 2018 5:01 am

China’s Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, known as the New Silk Road, is the largest infrastructure program in history. India is in close talks to join in. Russia is already. Now when Trump joins up, maybe ZTE is a sign he will buck WallStreet and London, then the old paradigm, known as the British Empire’s satrapies percieve mortal danger.
It seems UEA to the rescue, yet again. BRI they refer to as “globalization” not their own which gutted the western economies. Trump’s dumping of CO2 and Pruitt’s EPA deconstruction are simply too much for the Fabian Round Table, what?

Reply to  bonbon
May 15, 2018 6:16 am

I heard the other day that the busiest inter-city air travel route in the world is between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with about 80 flights every day. Help! These people are out-carbon dioxiding us. The next thing you know, they’ll start having small families and be so well off that they will have extra time on their hands and start to worry about their carbon footprint!

Reply to  Trebla
May 15, 2018 6:28 am

Here’s a GREAT example of the “carbon footprint” do-gooder crowd:
The irony . . .

Reply to  Trebla
May 15, 2018 8:01 am

Did you mean the story about the lady who FLEW out to California to pick up her new Tesla, and on the drive back home to Connecticut she had a Climate ‘Road to Damascus’ Moment?
Her conversion to Climate Faithful apearntly included full indoctrination by The Goracle’s own Climate Reality Project, and now she travels around preaching the One True Science.
No word yet on whether she will soon be flying all over the world to attend Climate Parties Conferences.

Reply to  bonbon
May 15, 2018 6:50 am

Thank goodness for the “zoom” feature in explorer. I needed it to read up on the Origins and Etymology of satrap and noticed the term was used recently in an Atlantic article.
We live in interesting times.

michael hart
Reply to  kakatoa
May 15, 2018 9:10 am

It is also a good technique to find out who “journalists” are plagiarising. (Though these days will just claim they are “following” people on social media as their excuse for their lack of originality).

May 15, 2018 5:28 am

Viet Nam ain’t Soutg, and Thailand and Indonesia are bately South. What’s with thishemisphereism?
[Viet Nam ain’t South, and Thailand and Indonesia are barely South. What’s with this hemisphereism? .mod]

Reply to  Jer0me
May 15, 2018 5:59 am

jer0me (or jerome)

Viet Nam ain’t Soutg, and Thailand and Indonesia are bately South. What’s with thishemisphereism?

Not sure where you’re trying to go with this: North Vietnam averages (barely) north of Thailand’s 16 north latitude, and South Vietnam averages a bit south of Thailand’s 16 north latitude, but the area-weighed latitude of Malaysia’s islands is significantly closer to the equator at 4 north. image
But, between 30 north and 30 south, there is very little variation in year-round solar insolation compared to the temperate latitudes. The monsoon’s make a great deal of difference, but not insolation.

Ian Magness
May 15, 2018 5:28 am

The bulk of this report will not surprise anyone.
There is an amusing aspect, however, the UEA delusion that somehow China’s production offshoring has got anything whatsoever to do with a desire to lower “carbon emissions”. The Chinese simply couldn’t give a monkey’s about this – never did, never will, whatever the spin. If they are offshoring, it’ll all be down to costs, especially labour and materials. In other words: hard cash. Pure and simple.

Reply to  Ian Magness
May 15, 2018 10:08 pm

I was a bit the same, someone actually needed to write a report to point out the obvious. The entire aim of globalization is to increase economic growth and consumption of all people and increase the global economy. The whole point of the process and the thing driving the process is the companies and governments participating make more money.
Globalization is always going to be at odds with reduced emissions because you not only have to cut emissions of the goods you produced historically but you have to reduce them beyond the amount used in the increased production in the future. I am pretty sure that is a obvious thing.

Reply to  LdB
May 15, 2018 10:30 pm

Globalization unleashes great potential economies of scale hence more efficiency and less emissions to produce as much goods.
(And people will want more goods.)

May 15, 2018 5:29 am

Viet Nam ain’t South, and Thailand and Indonesia are barely South. What’s with this hemisphereism?

May 15, 2018 5:47 am

This is a field guide on how to get a publication credit from shallow talk of trade flows and light manufacturing trends like textiles plus CO2. It’s so easy a robot could do it.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 15, 2018 5:48 am

But then robots have more integrity than this.

michael hart
Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 15, 2018 9:16 am

And it took about 12 authors to do it, if I counted correctly!

May 15, 2018 6:09 am

This is so funny.
Of course humans will keep burning more and more gas, oil, coal, and whatever. Anything to provide the needed energy. There are still hundreds of millions without water and electricity at home, hand washing their cloth, and seeing a bicycle as a luxury.. And they WILL fuel-burn their way out of this poverty, creating much more CO2 than virtue-signalers will make some reduction (if any). At whatever environmental cost.
Even if CAGW were real, it wouldn’t stop them. And it isn’t.

Tom Halla
Reply to  paqyfelyc
May 15, 2018 6:23 am

The green blob has a vision of Arcadian socialism, of their precious selves using sedan chairs as transport, and keeping the lumpenproletariat in their place. How dare those people they were trying to keep subsistence farmers better themselves with those evil fossil fuels?

Gary Pearse
May 15, 2018 6:25 am

“This study shows poor countries are making an end run around our new world order and participating in the magic of development and prosperity, thereby neutralizing our use of the CO2 societal control knob.”
This is the most wonderful story to come out of the climateer shop and they spin it into something awful baring the the real western caucasian heart and motivations of the matter.
This is also good news for my prediction of a Garden of Eden world with population stabilized at ~9billion, accessing abundant resources and prosperity.
Poor nations are not going to knuckle under to a new шнутемаи colonialization however spun.

May 15, 2018 6:38 am

Another ‘reeks of models” type of research.
Besides the minor fact that China is an autocratic secretive government that does not maintain public information for international consumption so they can ‘analyze’ China’s manufacturing; this research uses a very limited range of data that is not up to date, in spite of the research author’s claims.
From the study:

“To address these questions, here we use the latest released GTAP data to quantify the effects of South–South trade on regional and sectoral CO2 emissions between 2004 and 2011. In summary, we use international trade and CO2 emissions data from 2004, 2007 and 2011 to track emissions related to both intermediate and final goods and services from 57 industry sectors that are traded among 129 regions (101 regions are individual countries)”

Wherein, these researchers make their claims based on data collected/estimate up to 2011.
A period where China massively absorbed and constructed factories to produce products for international trade. During this period China ramped up manufacturing and product output, as part of China’s drive to elevate Chinese living, quality of life, technology, education, health and medical networks, etc.
Yet, according to these researchers, CO2 emissions moderated or even declined?
From the study:

Emissions embodied in trade
Originally developed by Leontief, environmental input-output analyses (EIOs) have been widely used to illustrate the economy-wide environmental repercussions triggered by economic activities.
By extending EIOs to multi-regions, emissions embodied in bilateral trade (EEBT) enables to determine the interconnection of sectors in different regions with respect to environmental changes and is suitable for analyzing bilateral relationship”

Formula and standardized assumptions and estimates.

Data sources
The economic input-output data, population, energy consumption and CO2 emissions of each sector are all based on version 9 of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) database. These include six developing regions of the global South: China, India, Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Other Asia and Pacific;”

All areas that lack rigorous data submission, collection, verification, certification and archived data handling structure and methods to ensure consistent quality data.
Then there is that “GTAP” source:

“GTAP (Global Trade Analysis Project) is a global network of researchers and policy makers conducting quantitative analysis of international policy issues. GTAP’s goal is to improve the quality of quantitative analysis of global economic issues within an economy-wide framework.”

A voluntary amateur collection of estimated or voluntary data, methods and models.

GTAP Data Bases: GTAP Data Base
The centerpiece of the Global Trade Analysis Project is a global data base describing bilateral trade patterns, production, consumption and intermediate use of commodities and services. Citations to this Data Base should reference the associated paper in the Journal of Global Economic Analysis:”

An amazing concept. If there are rigorous data definitions, data collection, storage, storage, etc. methods; along with government enforced complete reporting standards.

“Public Availability
The GTAP Data Base may be purchased by anyone interested in using it. Proceeds help to offset the cost of producing the next release. This permits users to share in development costs and it prevents needless duplication of effort in creating this public good. ”

Classic naive build and reuse thinking. Anyone else note the similarity if concept and approach to wiki?
In our globally honest full disclosure international world of governments, everyone can just close their eyes, hold their noses and use this free (almost) data…
Truth is the first victim.

“GTAP Models: Home
GTAP ModelStandard Model
The standard GTAP Model is a multiregion, multisector, computable general equilibrium model, with perfect competition and constant returns to scale. Bilateral trade is handled via the Armington assumption. The GTAP Model was initially documented in the GTAP Book and recent changes in the model structure can be found in various papers listed below: There is also a technical paper which provides a graphical exposition of the GTAP Model which is useful for beginners.
Innovative aspects of this model include:
The treatment of private household preferences using the non-homothetic CDE functional form, The explicit treatment of international trade and transport margins, and A global banking sector which intermediates between global savings and consumption. The GTAP Model also gives users a wide range of closure options, including unemployment, tax revenue replacement and fixed trade balance closures, and a selection of partial
equilibrium closures (which facilitate comparison of results to studies based on partial equilibrium assumptions). ”

How nice, plug and play self amusement tool for playing with the loose array of non-regulated intermittent sparsely standardized data.
Old data, limited range of years, estimated and assumed data, models, advanced data manipulation; what more could a researcher want?

May 15, 2018 6:42 am

Lost another post to the WordPress spam monster.
If you get a chance to root in the WP spam black hole, please help, mods?
(No, it is not life/death urgent. Your other issues are more important)

Reply to  ATheoK
May 15, 2018 6:43 am

You already rescued the post.
Thank you Mods!

May 15, 2018 8:01 am

Redistribution of wealth = redistribution of CO2. That’s been the stated plan all along.

Reply to  markl
May 15, 2018 10:19 pm

Yes unfortunately climate science has got itself involved in that exact political argument. Unfortunately to create the concept of an emissions limit you have to decide to proportion the limit to some metric, they decided per person and so that political argument follows.
It never seems to cross their mind it might be a bad metric. I would definitely run the argument it should be per area of land of each country. Smaller countries are at an extreme disadvantage under the scheme because they have less land mass to generate power especially since there population densities are usually much higher.

May 15, 2018 10:36 am

To repeat myself: the existential collapse of the virtue-based enviro movement occurs when the so-called victims become the perpetrators. When the developing world is the location of planetary CO2 growth. And when the population limiting activists like Bill Nye admit that white European-based, Western nations are not the population growth areas.
This report shows this crisis is upon them now. The demographic portion is well underway. Watch for retirements first, though.

paul courtney
Reply to  douglasproctor
May 15, 2018 1:00 pm

douglas: Well, it needs repeating! Is there anything more hilarious than a virtue-based enviro activist coming to the realization that his/her virtue is not shared by all? Why would anyone not want to be virtuous, they wonder.

May 15, 2018 12:33 pm

Filed under “Duh!”.

May 15, 2018 5:49 pm

At which point do they explain that “renewable energy” subsidies are actually mostly China coal subsidies?

Justin McCarthy
May 21, 2018 7:33 pm

Globalization increases CO/2. Therefore, globalization is killing the planet. Time for WTO to impose a carbon tariff on all goods exported based on CO/2 input in manufacturing and shipping. Importing country charges/collects tariff and spends on “green energy”. Incentivizes exporting countries to accelerate adoption of alternative energy to compete while funding adoption of green energy in consumer countries.
Very likely, the Germans, Chinese and other mercantilist economies would scream like stuck pigs. But, it seems like the place to start if there is a shred of reality to the AGW meme.
Of course, it is too simple and actually targets part of the problem But, it flies in the face of the UN’s agenda of global redistribution of economic growth underlying AGW. And, would undercut global capital’s ability to arbitrage cost deltas between manufacturing in high environmental compliance consumer economies versus low environmental compliance countries.

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