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European Tribune - Beyond GDP - Day 2 (afternoon) Summary
The statements on China were later moderated by a member of the audience who mentioned that we have to be careful about the framing as the West is responsible for a good deal of the pollution in China (this is to the tune of 23%, see 3E Intelligence).

Hmmm, I just to a look at that paper -- "Who Owns China's Carbon Emissions?" (PDF) from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research -- and unless I'm misreading it, I think it's not only Western countries that are "responsible" for 23% of China's carbon emissions, but all countries that import goods from China.  And looking at who the top 10 importers from China are,

US-China Trade Statistics and China's World Trade Statistics

Table 8: China's Top Export Destinations 2006 ($ billion)
Source: PRC General Administration of Customs, China's Customs Statistics
Rank Country/Region Volume % Change*
1 United States 203.5 24.9
2 Hong Kong 155.4 24.8
3 Japan 91.6 9.1
4 South Korea 44.5 26.8
5 Germany 40.3 23.9
6 tde Netderlands 30.9 19.3
7 United Kingdom 24.2 27.3
8 Singapore 23.2 39.4
9 Taiwan 20.7 25.3
10 Italy 16.0 36.7
*Percent change over 2005

The paper notes that Many of the goods exported to Hong Kong from mainland China are re-exported to other countries such as the UK after value-added processes have been performed. The major destinations of Hong Kong's re-exports, besides the Chinese mainland itself, are the USA, Japan, Germany and the UK.

But even with this qualification, I still think rather than saying "Western" countries are responsible for 23% of China's CO2 emissions, perhaps it would be better to say "countries with developed industrial economies" or something along those lines.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 10:17:00 AM EST
Thanks for doing the research! I was also wondering if this statistic is somehow connected to the PPP valuation of China's GDP (as you know, China is now 'worth' 40% less, which can affect all kinds of statistics).

The briefing says:

The trade values used here are expressed in actual terms, not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). This is because the monetary value of internationally traded goods is recorded at international prices. So it makes sense to use a consistent monetary unit across countries.
The analysis finds out that in 2004, China `avoided' emitting around 381 million tonnes of CO2 due to the import of goods and services. At the same time, goods that were exported from China generated approximately 1490 million tonnes of CO2. The overall effect was that around 1109 million tonnes of CO2 were emitted by China as a result of net exports. This accounted for 23% of China's total CO2 emitted in that
year (4732 million tonnes).

I think that the changed GDP measure should not affect this, however I am not completely sure because the authors do not explicitly state whether they use the PPP measure for China's own GDP and I don't know how the % exports have of GDP plays into the analysis...

Whether Japan, South Korea and Singapore can be included in 'the west' is a flavour of the month kinda political question (the west being a political label for those who ride with US and are rich like US). I assume you'd have some interesting thoughts about the socio-cultural aspects.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 10:59:51 AM EST
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