Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Per Capita CO2 Emissions (Before- & After-Trade) Rankings of G20 Countries 1993-2013

China has been the world's number one carbon emitter since 2006. However, the country complains that developed countries' consumption of made-in-China goods is to blame for a big part of its CO2 emissions. It is true that China's export-driven manufacturing has led to dramatic increases in CO2 emissions. So a recent study (Le Quéré et al., 2014) analyzed how big the difference between before- and after-trade emissions in each country is. In those consumer countries such as the United States and the developed countries in Europe, the after-trade (consumption-based) CO2 emissions per capita should be larger than the before-trade (production-based) CO2 emissions per capita.
Because I have compared energy intensities of G20 countries, I decided to compare the G20 members by their COemissions per capita both in before- and after-trade terms. It was a simple task. I have divided each country's emissions (Le Quéré et al., 2014) by their population (UN DESA, 2013). The following figures show the results.
Let's take a look at the Table below. In 2012, French people emitted 56% more CO2 by consumption-based (after-trade) emissions (8.32 tCO2/person/year) than that by production-based (before-trade) emissions (5.34 tCO2/person/year). China's per capita emissions decrease significantly using the same comparison. In 2012, Chinese people emitted 5.84 tonnes of CO2 per person by after-trade emissions, which is 16% less than the before-trade emissions (6.97 tCO2/person/year). (See also Figure 1 & Figure 2).
How about comparing those G20 countries by rankings? Before the trade-adjustment (Figure 3), China ranked 17th among G20 countries by the production-based per capita CO2 emissions in 1993. In 2013, the country ranked 6th.
After adjusting the emissions by international trade (Figure 4), it is a different story. China was No. 17 in 1993 by the after-trade emissions per capita. In 2012, it stepped up only three ranks (No. 14). By comparison, South Korea leaped up 6 ranks. It was No. 11 in 1993 before its rank rose to No. 5 in 2012. Russia beat China in terms of rank ascension. The country rose by 4 ranks from No. 12 to No. 8.

Table. Difference between Before-Trade Emissions and After-Trade Emissions
([Difference] = [B-A]/A, where
A: CO2 emissions per person before trade-adjustment,
B: CO2 emissions per person after trade-adjustment)

Korea, South22.3%17.3%10.6%22.3%15.9%14.7%14.2%
Saudi Arabia-7.4%-5.5%-30.9%-27.0%-13.0%-16.5%-17.0%
South Africa-28.8%-28.1%-26.6%-27.9%-25.7%-26.6%-25.1%
United Kingdom13.1%13.1%20.7%28.5%30.7%37.0%35.2%
United States-1.1%-0.9%4.9%8.1%6.8%7.6%8.7%

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4


Le Quéré, C., et al. (2014). Global Carbon Budget 2014. Earth System Science Data Discussions, (In Review). [Full-text at http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/essdd-7-521-2014; Data at http://cdiac.ornl.gov/GCP/]

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). (2013). World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. [Data at http://esa.un.org/wpp/]

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