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Guest post: How to ‘fairly’ share emissions from goods traded around the world

(CarbonBrief, 4 Jan 2021) Each year, close to $20tn worth of traded goods are driven, shipped and flown across the world. The global value of trade in goods has tripled during the 21st century alone.

But, as the world attempts to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, its increasing interconnectedness can complicate matters.

A key debate is who should be held responsible for greenhouse gas emissions of internationally traded goods. In a globalised economy, should responsibility for emissions lie with those that produce goods? Or should it rather be accounted for by those that consume final goods and services?

In a new paper, published in Global Environmental Change, we suggest that an exclusive focus on producers or consumers falls short as a method of allocating trade-related emissions to individual countries.

Instead, we propose an accounting scheme that divides trade-related emissions among trade partners in proportion to the economic benefits they derive from these emissions.

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CarbonBrief, 4 Jan 2021: Guest post: How to ‘fairly’ share emissions from goods traded around the world