Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Europe Emits 15% More if Consumption is Considered

Chinas is now the worldwide biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG). However, if we take into account the end-consumers of Chinese goods, the ranking looks notably different. After all, Chinese industries export a very substantial part of their production to western states. As pointed out recently by the Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO) in its Global 800 2011 Carbon Rankings, it’s the west that basically outsources GHG intensive manufacturing into emerging countries, taking advantage of low production costs and environmental standards and thereby lowering domestic CO2-emissions. In a recent ranking by IFO calculated the real carbon footprint of countries. China’s emissions are reduced by an impressive 27% because much of its production is consumed in other places. The seemingly so CO2-efficient EU sees its emission increasing by 15% because it imports so many CO2-heavy goods. For the rather energy inefficient US, GHG emissions rise by moderate 7%. Still, combined with Chinas significant lower emissions, the US are once again clearly the highest emitter of CO2.

ON-green-policy! It’s very simple and easy to understand that a country’s environmental performance should measure the goods it consumes instead of what it produces. From my point of view, this ranking basically highlights the fact that CO2 emissions are a global problem, which need global solutions. In an interlinked world there is nothing to be gained by a super efficient Europe, whose emissions happen in China. In the contrary, such a constellation is actually detrimental to both, Europe’s manufacturing jobs and the climate because Chinese industry is much less GHG-efficient than Europe’s. Therefore, in order to prevent such mis-developments and mis-allocation of production, jobs and emissions, politicians need to start living up to the global characteristics of the problem and acting accordingly on a global level.

Source: Zeit

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