Orginal Article

Tracking embodied carbon flows in the Belt and Road regions

  • HAN Mengyao , 1, 2 ,
  • YAO Qiuhui 1, 2, 3 ,
  • LIU Weidong , 1, 2, 3* ,
  • Michael DUNFORD 1, 2
  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • 3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*Corresponding author: Liu Weidong (1967-), PhD and Professor, specialized in economic geography, regional development and the Belt and Road Initiative studies. E-mail:

Author: Han Mengyao (1989-), PhD, specialized in economic geography as well as studies of embodied carbon, water, land and energy. E-mail:

Received date: 2018-01-15

  Accepted date: 2018-03-15

  Online published: 2018-09-25

Supported by

National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2016YFA0602804

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41701135


Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved


In the past few decades, economic globalization has driven rapid growth of cross-border trade and a new international division of labor, leading to increasing inter-country embodied carbon flows. Multi-region input-output (MRIO) analysis is used to identify embodied carbon flows between major world regions, including seven regions along the Belt and Road (BR), and the spatial distribution of production- and consumption-based carbon intensities. The results show that current embodied carbon flows are virtually all from BR regions to developed countries, with more than 95% of world net embodied carbon exports coming from BR regions. Consumption in the United States and European Union countries induce about 30% of the carbon emissions in most BR regions, indicating that the former bear a high proportion of consumers’ responsibility for the carbon emitted in the latter. For this reason, measuring environmental responsibilities from consumption rather than a production-based perspective is more equitable, while developing countries should be given a louder voice in the construction through dialogue and cooperation, in part in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, of an inclusive global climate governance system.

Cite this article

HAN Mengyao , YAO Qiuhui , LIU Weidong , Michael DUNFORD . Tracking embodied carbon flows in the Belt and Road regions[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018 , 28(9) : 1263 -1274 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-018-1524-7

1 Introduction

Climate change is often considered a global challenge and as posing a long-term threat to human survival and the ecosystem. The Fifth Assessment of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated that the human impact on the climate system is clear and continues to increase (Mastrandrea et al., 2010). As early as the 1990s, researchers began to pay attention to the environmental impacts of global production networks, and in particular of cross-border trade and the international division of labor (Copeland and Taylor, 1994, 2004; Grossman and Krueger, 1991; Chichilnisky, 1994; Antweiler et al., 1998). After the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, attempts to identify carbon emission responsibilities have resulted in considerable controversies. Some studies show that current assessments of national carbon responsibilities ignore trade-induced geographies of production and consumption (Peters and Hertwich, 2008). Others draw on analyses of the consequences of economic globalization and international trade to identify consumer responsibilities for embodied carbon emissions and the implications for effective climate policies and international climate cooperation (Lenzen et al., 2007).
Previous studies of carbon emissions and carbon leakages rarely used multi-regional input-output (MRIO) analysis due to the lack of availability of data and the complexity of inter-regional relationships. More recently the deepening of globalization and the increasing acuteness of related natural resource and environmental issues have seen the publication of articles using these methods in prestigious journals like Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) (Lenzen et al., 2012b; Liu et al., 2015b; Zhang et al., 2017). This research has sought to identify the resource and environmental impacts of geographies of production and consumption (Li et al., 2013; Han et al., 2017; Han and Chen, 2018; Li and Han, 2018). A number of these studies have revealed environmental linkages caused by the spatial shift of industrial capacity from developed to developing countries and the consequent rapid increase in international trade, showing in some cases that carbon leakages are mainly from emerging to developed economies, such as the United States, Japan, and some EU countries (Ahmad and Wyckoff, 2003; Davis and Caldeira, 2010). These developed countries that therefore take substantial responsibility as consumers for carbon emissions have the greatest capacity technologically to reduce them. And yet it is emerging countries specialized in low-end manufacturing and unable to easily afford advanced environmental protection technologies that are placed under the strongest pressure to reduce carbon emissions (Wyckoff and Roop, 1994; Peters and Hertwich, 2008; Liu et al., 2014).
The rise of emerging economies, including China, has challenged the dominance of developed countries in the global governance system (Kowalski and Shepherd, 2006; Hudson, 2016), and these economies are playing an ever more important role in handling international issues. At the same time it is absolutely clear that addressing climate change must involve measures that deal not just with production but also with exchange and with consumption. In this situation it is increasingly important to identify the consumption-related drivers of carbon emissions.
Existing studies have identified embodied carbon emission flows between developed and developing countries by examining the impacts of domestic consumption on the latter. A systematic analysis of consumption-related flows has however yet to be conducted. Given the existence of dramatic changes in the geographies of global development, cooperation among countries in the Global South is at least as important as North-South cooperation and serves to increase the role of these countries in global governance (Marco and David, 2006). As noted by the United Nations (2013), linkages between developing countries in the fields of trade, investment and finance are rapidly growing, and are expected to continue to grow relatively quickly, expanding their domestic markets and international economic relationships. In turn these linkages enable them to share experiences and design institutional and policy reforms capable of contributing to sustainable and equitable economic growth. The rise of the Global South is thus helping reshape the global governance system, traditionally dominated by the Global North. In this context, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) represents a new type of South-South cooperation (Dunford and Liu, 2016; Liu and Dunford, 2016).
The Belt and Road regions (BR regions hereafter) are richly endowed with mineral resources, including oil, natural gas, coal, iron and copper. For example, the oil reserves of the Middle East account for about 60% of the world total, while the natural gas reserves of Russia, Iran, and Qatar account for approximately 58% of the world total (Zou et al., 2015). However, in BR regions there are significant mismatches in the geographies of the production and consumption of these and other resources. This situation requires further consideration (Hao et al., 2017), not least as the BRI will promote trade and investment that will alter the regional allocation of resources with inevitable environmental impacts on both receiving and providing countries. As the BRI prioritizes infrastructure development, it is also likely to increase the demand for energy (Schwerhoff and Sy, 2017), may stimulate the growth of energy-intensive industries and may engender more extensive supply chains (Wang and Wang, 2017).
These potential but uncertain impacts of the BRI on global carbon emissions will make it a focus of global climate change studies. Nonetheless, at this early stage it is already clear that the development of a comprehensive energy cooperation model and carbon reduction mechanisms are crucial for both BRI implementation and coping with global warming (Zhu et al., 2016; Zhang et al., 2017). Although impacts will depend on the outcome of these steps, the research that does so far exist suggests that the BRI implementation may increase global carbon emissions to a certain extent. Any potential increase requires however further examination and discussion in the context of global carbon emission linkages.
To contribute to this end, this research examined embodied carbon emission transfers of BR regions with production- and consumption-based intensities to identify production- and consumption-related responsibilities. The remainder of the paper is structured as follows: Section 2 articulates the method employed in this study, Section 3 analyzes the results, Section 4 discusses the policy implications, and Section 5 draws some conclusions.

2 Method and materials

2.1 Method

To identify quantifiably and analyze the embodiment of resources in different economic activities, input-output tables have been widely used. In particular MRIO tables have been employed in many studies to explore the economic interdependence of different economies and to assess the resource and environmental impacts of human activity (Wyckoff and Roop, 1994; Ahmad and Wyckoff, 2003; Wiedmann et al., 2007; Peters and Hertwich, 2008; Davis and Caldeira, 2010; Lin and Sun, 2010; Liu et al., 2015a). In this research, the MRIO technique and more specifically an existing MRIO model for global resources and emissions (Wiedmann et al., 2007; Chen and Han, 2015; Han et al., 2018) was developed to compute embodied regional carbon emission flows. The model integrates economic networks and ecological endowments by examining the physical balance of resource use and environmental emissions for a regional system comprising m regions each involving n sectors.
The physical balance of carbon emissions for Sector i in Region r is defined as:
\[p_{i}^{r}+\sum\limits_{s=1}^{m}{\sum\limits_{j=1}^{n}{\varepsilon _{j}^{s}z_{ji}^{sr}=}}\varepsilon _{i}^{r}x_{i}^{r}\ (1)\]
where \(p_{i}^{r}\) represents the direct environmental emissions of economic Sector i in Region r, \(\varepsilon _{j}^{s}\) represents the embodied carbon intensity of Sector j in Region s,\(z_{ji}^{sr}\) represents the output from Sector j in Region s for intermediate input to Sector i in Region r, and \(x_{i}^{r}\) represents the gross output of Sector i in Region r. \(x_{i}^{r}\) is defined as
\[x_{i}^{r}=\sum\limits_{s=1}^{m}{\sum\limits_{j=1}^{n}{z_{ij}^{rs}+\sum\limits_{s=1}^{m}{f_{ii}^{rs}}}}\ (2)\]
where \(f_{ii}^{rs}\) rrepresents the output from Sector i in Region r satisfying the final demand of Sector i in Region s.
Defining \(P={{[p_{i}^{r}]}_{1\times mn}},\)\(E={{[\varepsilon _{j}^{s}]}_{1\times mn}},\)\(Z={{[z_{ji}^{sr}]}_{mn\times mn}},\)the diagonal matrix \(\hat{X}={{[x_{ij}^{rs}]}_{mn\times mn}},\) where \(r,s\in (1,2,\ldots ,m),\)\(i,j\in (1,2,\ldots ,n),\)$x_{ij}^{rs}=x_{i}^{r}$ when (i=j)\(\bigcap \)(r=s) and \(x_{ij}^{rs}=0\) when $(i\ne j)\bigcup (r\ne s),$and the diagonal ma-trix\(\hat{F}={{[f_{ij}^{rs}]}_{mn\times mn}},\)where \(r,s\in (1,2,\ldots ,m),\text{ }i,j\in (1,2,\) \(\ldots ,n),\)$f_{ij}^{rs}=f_{i}^{r}$when (i=j)\(\bigcap \)(r=s) and \(f_{ij}^{rs}=0,\)when $(i\ne j)\bigcup (r\ne s),$Equations 1 and 2 can be expressed in matrix form as:
\[P+EZ=E\hat{X}\ (3)\]
\[\hat{X}=Z+\hat{F}\ (4)\]
Therefore, given the direct inputs matrix P, intermediate inputs matrix Z and gross outputs matrix \(\hat{X},\) the embodied carbon intensity matrix can be obtained as:
\[E=P{{(\hat{X}-Z)}^{-1}}\ (5)\]
Emissions embodied in imports and exports for intermediate use (\(TEIM\) and \(TEEX\)), respectively defined as production-driven inflows and outflows, can be obtained as:
\[TEI{{M}^{r}}=\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{TEIM_{i}^{r}}\text{=}\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{\sum\limits_{s=1(s\ne r)}^{m}{\sum\limits_{j=1}^{n}{(\varepsilon _{j}^{s}z_{ji}^{sr})}}}\ (6)\]
\[TEE{{X}^{r}}=\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{TEEX_{i}^{r}}\text{=}\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{\sum\limits_{s=1(s\ne r)}^{m}{\sum\limits_{j=1}^{n}{(\varepsilon _{i}^{r}z_{ij}^{rs})}}}\ (7)\]
Emissions embodied in imports and exports for final demand (FEIM and FEEX), respectively defined as consumption-driven inflows and outflows, can be obtained as:
\[FEI{{M}^{r}}=\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{FEIM_{i}^{r}}=\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{\sum\limits_{s=1(s\ne r)}^{m}{(\varepsilon _{i}^{s}f_{ii}^{sr})}}\ (8)\]
\[FEE{{X}^{r}}=\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{FEEX_{i}^{r}}=\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{\sum\limits_{s=1(s\ne r)}^{m}{(\varepsilon _{i}^{r}f_{ii}^{rs})}}\ (9)\]
In matrix form, direct production-based emissions, TEF, can be obtained as:
\[TE{{F}^{r}}={{P}^{r}}\text{=}\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n}{p_{i}^{r}}\ (10)\]
while consumption-based emissions, FEF, defined as the total emissions associated with domestic demand, can be obtained as:
\[FE{{F}^{r}}={{P}^{r}}+(TEI{{M}^{r}}-TEE{{X}^{r}})+(FEI{{M}^{r}}-TEE{{X}^{r}})\ (11)\]

2.2 Data sources

Many organizations have built MRIO tables. These databases include the GTAP (Global Trade Analysis Project) database, Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) database, the World Input-Output Database (WIOD) and the Eora database. In this study the simplified Eora 2012 MRIO table was used (Lenzen et al., 2012a, 2013). This table corresponds with the newly published 2012 input-output table from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics. At present, the Eora database is the most detailed global scale multi-regional input-output database, covering more countries and longer periods of time than any other. The model covers 189 individual economies and features a 26-sector harmonized industrial classification. This database provides satellite accounts for energy use, carbon emissions and environmental pollution, which can be used to analyze embodied global carbon transfers and the emissions impacts of countries along the Belt and Road. All per capita and GDP data came from the World Bank database (World Bank, 2012). Table A.1 lists the names of and abbreviations for the 65 regions (including China) along the Belt and Road for reference.

3 Results

3.1 Embodied carbon transfers

To study embodied carbon transfers of BR countries, the 189 economies were grouped into 15 regions, and the 65 economies along the Belt and Road were divided into 7 regions (as shown in Table 1): China, Central Asia, Mongolia & Russia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central & East Europe and West Asia & Middle East. The detailed embodied production- and consumption-induced carbon transfers, as estimated by the MRIO model, are reported in Table A.2 for reference.
Overall, the total gross embodied carbon exports of the 15 regions was estimated to equal 2925.51 Mt, with net carbon exports amounting to 915.46 Mt. Apart from Central Asia and West Asia & Middle East, all countries/regions along the Belt and Road were net embodied carbon exporters (of in all 893.12 Mt) to other countries/regions. 95% of the world’s net carbon exports originated in regions along the Belt and Road. Of these net carbon exporters, China was the largest, exporting 717.89 Mt (78.42% of the world’s total). China was closely followed by South Asia and Southeast Asia, with net exports of 94.03 and 76.88 Mt, respectively. Most countries outside of the BRI area were net carbon importers, with the United States accounting for 403.01 Mt of net carbon imports (44.02% of the world total). East Asia, West Asia & Middle East, South America and West Europe were also net importers, accounting for 14.01% (128.27 Mt), 11.46% (104.93 Mt), 10.41% (95.31 Mt) and 8.56% (78.34 Mt) of the total, respectively.
The embodied carbon transfers of BR regions are plotted in Figure 1. As Figure 1 shows, China, South Asia and Southeast Asia were major net embodied carbon exporters, with all regions outside of the BRI area importing embodied carbon from these regions. The main transfer flows included those from China to other BRI regions, from South Asia and Southeast Asia to West Asia & Middle East, from Central & East Europe to Mongolia & Russia and to West Asia & Middle East, and from Mongolia & Russia to Central Asia and to West Asia & Middle East. Of these BR regions, China was the largest carbon exporter, while West Asia & Middle East was the largest carbon importer, with especially large embodied carbon emission imports for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE.
Figure 1 Embodied carbon transfers of the Belt and Road regions
Table 1 Regional classification of 65 regions
Category Region
China (BRI) China (12)
Central Asia (BRI) Kazakhstan (26), Kyrgyzstan (28), Tajikistan (56), Turkmenistan (60), Uzbekistan (63)
Mongolia & Russia (BRI) Mongolia (37), Russia (48)
Southeast Asia (BRI) Brunei (9), Cambodia (11), Indonesia (21), Laos (29), Malaysia (34), Myanmar (39), Philippines (44), Singapore (51), Thailand (57), Viet Nam (64)
South Asia (BRI) Afghanistan (1), Bangladesh (6), India (20), Maldives (35), Nepal (40), Pakistan (42), Sri Lanka (54), Bhutan (58)
Central & East
Europe (BRI)
Albania (2), Belarus (7), Bosnia and Herzegovina (8), Bulgaria (10), Croatia (13), Cyprus (14), Czech Republic (15), Estonia (17), Hungary (19), Latvia (30), Lithuania (32), Macedonia (33), Moldova (36), Montenegro (38), Poland (45), Romania (47), Serbia (50), Slovakia (52), Slovenia (53), Ukraine (61)
West Asia & Middle
East (BRI)
Armenia (3), Azerbaijan (4), Bahrain (5), Egypt (16), Georgia (18), Iran (22), Iraq (23), Israel (24), Jordan (25), Kuwait (27), Lebanon (31), Oman (41), Palestine (43), Qatar (46), Saudi Arabia (49), Syria (55), Turkey (59), UAE (62), Yemen (65)

3.2 Production- and consumption-based intensities

MRIO analysis also permits the identification of production- and consumption-induced carbon intensities for different countries/regions. Production-based carbon intensity refers to the direct carbon emission within a given country/region per unit of output, and consumption-based carbon intensity refers to the total embodied carbon emissions per unit of final demand. The detailed results are reported in Table A.3.
The geographies of production- and consumption-based carbon intensities were significantly different, especially when comparing BRI and non-BRI regions. As Figure 2 shows, the production- (averaging 0.67 kg/USD) and consumption-based (averaging 0.62 kg/USD) carbon intensities of most regions along the Belt and Road were significantly higher than the global average (0.45 kg/USD). For regions along the Belt and Road, regional production-based carbon intensities in order of magnitude were Mongolia & Russia (1.49 kg/USD), Central Asia (1.43 kg/USD), China (1.17 kg/USD), Central & East Europe (0.65 kg/USD), West Asia & Middle East (0.60 kg/USD), South Asia (0.54 kg/USD), and Southeast Asia (0.48 kg/USD). The consumption-based carbon intensities were respectively: Central Asia (1.10 kg/USD), China (0.88 kg/USD), Mongolia & Russia (0.69 kg/USD), Central & East Europe (0.66 kg/USD), West Asia & Middle East (0.54 kg/USD), South Asia (0.51 kg/USD) and Southeast Asia (0.49 kg/USD).
Figure 2 Production- and consumption-based carbon intensities (kg/USD)
A comparison of production- and consumption-based carbon intensities (shown in Figure 3) shows that for most BRI regions production-based carbon intensities were significantly higher than those that were consumption-based. More specifically, the differences were: Mongolia & Russia (0.80 kg/USD), Central Asia (0.33 kg/USD), China (0.30 kg/USD), West Asia & Middle East (0.06 kg/USD), and South Asia (0.03 kg/USD).
Figure 3 The gap between production- and consumption-based carbon intensities (kg/USD)
Outside the BRI the production-based carbon intensities of most outside regions were lower than their consumption-based intensities, although the differences were no more than 0.10 kg/USD. Generally speaking, for any pair of countries/regions, embodied carbon transfers flow from countries/regions with relatively lower to those with relatively higher carbon intensity. If the directions of flows were the opposite, the carbon emissions of countries/regions with relatively higher carbon intensities would increase, raising global total carbon emissions to a certain degree.

3.3 Sources and sinks of embodied carbon emissions

The identification of embodied consumption-based carbon emissions permits identification and assessment of their sources and sinks for BR regions. A source in this case is the total emissions embodied in goods produced in a particular area. A sink refers to the place in which the products that produce these emissions are consumed.
Nearly 83.06% of all embodied carbon emissions along the Belt and Road were associated with consumption within the area, while 7.20% were associated with the production of goods exported to West Europe, 3.73% and 3.72% with those exported to the rest of East Asia and the United States, respectively, and about 1.36% with goods produced for export to the rest of North America and South America, respectively (Figure 4a). For regions along the Belt and Road, economies including the United States, West Europe and the rest of East Asia usually accounted for about 30% of embodied carbon sources.
The percentages of embodied carbon emissions consumed within China, South Asia and West Asia & Middle East (from 77.63% to 78.73%) were relatively larger than for the other regions. The embodied carbon exports of these areas that were associated with production for non-BRI regions were mainly associated with consumption in West Europe, the United States, and non-BRI East Asia. In contrast, the percentages of embodied emissions associated with self-consumption in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Mongolia & Russia, and Central & East Europe were somewhat lower, lying between 65.86% and 69.11%.
Of China’s embodied carbon emissions, West Europe, the United States and the rest of East Asia accounted for 5.51%, 4.90% and 4.20%, respectively. Paying attention to specific countries, most of the carbon emissions embodied in the imports of the United States, Japan, Korea, Germany, the UK, Canada, Singapore and India are from China (Figure 4b).
The consumption structure of South Asia’s carbon emissions was similar to that of China, with 5.58% and 3.56% of its embodied carbon emissions associated with goods produced for export to West Europe and the United States, respectively, and 3.54% and 2.20% for goods exported to West Asia & Middle East and China, respectively (Figure 4c). The United States, China, Germany, the UAE, the UK, Japan, Italy and Singapore were identified as its major carbon importers.
In the case of the carbon emission structure of West Asia & Middle East, West Europe and the rest of East Asia took the largest responsibility for import-generated emissions, accounting for 5.98% and 5.43% of these areas’ national totals, respectively. These zones were followed by the United States, China, South Asia and Southeast Asia, with 2.07%, 1.88%, 1.85% and 1.57%, respectively (Figure 4d). The largest contributors to the emissions generated by the production of goods for export from West Asia & Middle East were Japan, Korea, the United States, India, China, Germany and Italy.
In the case of Southeast Asia, 7.74% of carbon emissions were a result of goods they produced for consumption in China, while the rest of East Asia, West Europe and the United States were responsible for 6.67%, 5.86% and 4.87%, respectively. China, the United States, Japan, Korea, Germany, India, the UK and Australia were all major contributors, through their imports, to carbon generated in Southeast Asia (Figure 4e).
Figure 4 Embodied carbon sources of Belt and Road regions

Of the carbon emissions of Central Asia, 10.14% and 7.86% were a result of production for export to Mongolia & Russia and West Europe, respectively, while 4.17% and 4.08% were due to exports produced for Central & East Europe and China, respectively. Russia, China, Germany, Ukraine, Iran, Italy, Romania, and the United States were the countries whose imports made the largest contributions to Central Asian emissions (Figure 4f).

Some 11.15% of the embodied carbon emissions of Mongolia & Russia were generated by the production of goods for export to West Europe. 6.97% derived from exports to Central & East Europe, and 3.48%, 2.54% and 2.04% from exports to China, the rest of East Asia and West Asia & Middle East, respectively. The major generators of emissions through imports were China, Germany, Japan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, France, Turkey and Slovakia (Figure 4g).
Some 19.34% of the embodied carbon emissions of Central & East Europe were associated with exports to West Europe, and 8.32% with those to Mongolia & Russia. Overall, Germany, Russia, Italy, the United States, Austria, France, Turkey, the Netherlands and the UK were the largest causes of emissions from the production of exports in this area (Figure 4h).

4 Discussion and conclusions

Manufacturing activities, in particular low-end manufacturing, are a major source of global carbon emissions. In the past, as they industrialized, developed countries produced huge carbon emissions. Only in recent decades, and as a result of the shifting of low-end manufacturing to developing countries from which they then imported finished goods for final consumption, did they witness a decrease in carbon emissions. A reality of globalization was in other words the transfer of high carbon emitting industries producing goods for developed country consumption to emerging economies.
Existing research has revealed that trade-embodied carbon emissions account for about one-third of global carbon emissions. An assessment of national or regional carbon emissions from a production based perspective alone cannot therefore identify national responsibilities. This fact is particularly true in the case of BR regions as these regions have become the world’s factory, starting with China and extending subsequently to other BR countries.
The analysis in this paper indicates that the global transfer of embodied carbon overwhelmingly involves transfers from BR regions to other parts of the world. China, South Asia and Southeast Asia are the main exporters of embodied carbon, while the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and Korea are the major importers. Astonishingly, at the time of this study, more than 95% of the world’s net embodied carbon export came from BR regions, and the consumption of imported goods accounted for about 30% of the carbon emissions in most of the BR regions. Therefore, although some authors argue that BRI implementation may increase global carbon emissions (e.g., Zhang et al., 2017), an outcome of this kind must be understood in the context of global production and consumption linkages and the global carbon emission linkages associated directly with them. In other words, what drives increased carbon emissions in BR regions is not the implementation of the BRI but increased global consumption and in particular increased consumption in developed countries.
By tracing the geographies of embodied carbon flows and comparing production- and consumption-based carbon intensities in BRI regions, this paper has identified their carbon emission sources and sinks. In China, South Asia and West Asia & Middle East an average of about 78% of their total carbon emissions was due to domestic consumption, while the carbon emissions associated with the production of goods to meet import demand from other countries was largely due to exports to West Europe, the United States and the rest of East Asia. In Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Mongolia & Russia, and Central & East Europe, 65% to 70% of their total carbon emissions were induced by domestic consumption.
There was, moreover, a clear spatial difference between global production- and consumption-based embodied carbon intensities. In BR regions, particularly Mongolia, Russia, Central Asia and China, production-based carbon intensities were significantly higher than those that were consumption-based, further indicating that the contribution of developing countries to world economic growth occurred at the expense of increased domestic resource and environmental costs.
This research showed that carbon leakages were more obvious in BR regions than in developed countries like the United States or in poor countries with few manufacturing activities. Since BR regions are and will probably continue to function as the world factory, one cannot expect carbon intensities in these regions to be significantly lower than in other regions. These considerations must play an important role in global economic governance, although global institutions are at present dominated by developed countries that do not want to assume responsibility for the consequences of their own consumption.
In the face of these difficulties, the BRI actually brings new opportunities for BR countries to cope with global climate change. The fact that it is difficult in the short term to persuade developed countries to assume responsibility for their own consumption shows that a clarification of the responsibility of each country or region for carbon emissions is not a scientific issue but a political one, involving bargaining and negotiation. For that reason, the development within the context of the BRI of a comprehensive energy cooperation model and carbon reduction mechanisms will play a crucial role in global climate change governance. Indeed, the joint communiqué of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation called for ‘urgent action on climate change and encouraging all parties which have ratified it to fully implement the Paris Agreement’ (NDRC, 2015).
Since the BRI embraces most developing countries as well as most net carbon exporters, it is crucial that BR regions enhance cooperation on carbon issues and through that cooperation acquire a louder voice in global climate change governance. The measurement in this article of the responsibility of different countries for consumption-related carbon emissions can help ensure that the principle of fairness is better reflected in international affairs. A consideration of both production and consumption responsibilities and the enhancement of cooperation between embodied carbon importers and exporters will help develop more inclusive global climate governance mechanisms and help find better and more efficient solutions to global climate change.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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Copeland B R, Taylor M S, 1994. North-South trade and the environment.Quarterly Journal of Economics, 109(3): 755-787.A simple static model of North-South trade is developed to examine linkages between national income, pollution, and international trade. Two countries produce a continuum of goods, each differing in pollution intensity. We show that the higher income country chooses stronger environmental protection, and specializes in relatively clean goods. By isolating the scale, composition, and technique effects of international trade on pollution, we show that free trade increases world pollution; an increase in the rich North's production possibilities increases pollution, while similar growth in the poor South lowers pollution; and unilateral transfers from North to South reduce worldwide pollution.


Copeland B R, Taylor M S, 2004. Trade, growth, and the environment.Journal of Economic Literature, 42(1): 7-71.For the last ten years environmentalists and the trade policy community have engaged in a heated debate over the environmental consequences of liberalized trade. The debate was originally fueled by negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Uruguay round of GATT negotiations, both of which occurred at a time when concerns over global warming, species extinction and industrial pollution were rising. Recently it has been intensified by the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and proposals for future rounds of trade negotiations. The debate has often been unproductive. It has been hampered by the lack of a common language and also suffered from little recourse to economic theory and empirical evidence. The purpose of this essay is set out what we currently know about the environmental consequences of economic growth and international trade. We critically review both theory and empirical work to answer three basic questions. What do we know about the relationship between international trade, economic growth and the environment? How can this evidence help us evaluate ongoing policy debates? Where do we go from here?


Davis S J, Caldeira K, 2010. Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(12): 5687-5692.

Dunford M, Liu W D, 2016. Uneven and combined development.Regional Studies, 51(1): 69-85.

Grossman G M, Krueger A B, 1991. Environmental impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement. Social Science Electronic Publishing, 8(2): 223-250.

Han M Y, Chen G Q, 2018. Global arable land transfers embodied in Mainland China’s foreign trade.Land Use Policy, 70: 521-534.

Han M Y, Chen G Q, Li Y L, 2018. Global water transfers embodied in international trade: Tracking imbalanced and inefficient flows.Journal of Cleaner Production, 184: 50-64.In light of the increasingly serious resource crisis in the context of global regional connectivity, a detailed analysis for embodied water flows in global supply chains is conducted involving more than 180 countries/regions. Based on the multi-regional database, this work attempts to explore the rules of embodied water transfers and the ways in which imbalance and inefficiencies in the new stage of globalization can be relieved. Overall, water embodied in trade flows, also known as embodied water, is estimated near one third the volume of global water withdrawal. Mainland China is the world's leading gross embodied water exporter with 114.47 billion m 3 , in contrast to the United States as the leading importer with 151.39 million m 3 . Under the background of resources distribution, trade acts as a mechanism to enable wealthy consumers to shift stress to their trading partners, leading to a more complex context of imbalance. As the most water-deficient region, the Middle East virtually receives 30 million m 3 of embodied water; however most of the less developed regions including African countries are always large embodied water suppliers, requiring urgent, global attention. With the detailed data supports, this study provides systematical accounting on embodied water transfers, conducts comprehensive analyses on transfer patterns, efficiencies, and pressures, and identify imbalanced and inefficient embodied water transfers among countries/regions, attempting to map out an inclusive and sustained transfer path and lay an essential foundation for globe resources use in the new stage of globalization.


Han M Y, Dunford M, Chen G Qet al., 2017. Global water transfers embodied in Mainland China’s foreign trade: Production- and consumption-based perspectives.Journal of Cleaner Production, 161: 188-199.Water resources are embodied in global trade. Since China is the largest water withdrawal economy in the world, 50% of its direct water withdrawal transfers with Chinese imports and exports. Due to an increasing division of activities between different production units, economies such as Mainland China mainly import intermediate products for further processing and then export final goods to other economies. Overall, Mainland China is a net embodied water supplier not only in final consumption-based trade relations but also in intermediate production-based ones. China’s total per capita water use is much lower than the global average, but yet China exports embodied water through trade activities. Pakistan, Myanmar and India are China’s largest embodied water suppliers, and Hong Kong, the United States and Japan as its largest net recipients. The main water exporting sectors in Mainland China are Electrical and Machinery ( Sector 9 ) and Textiles and Wearing Apparel ( Sector 5 ) respectively, and the main importing sector is Agriculture ( Sector 1 ) with imports coming mainly from Myanmar, Pakistan, the United States and North Korea. This analysis of China’s global embodied water transfers can inform policies to increase China’s water use efficiency and can be generated to build embodied water budgets for a systematic allocation of water resources on the globe especially from the production- and consumption-based perspectives.


Hao Q, Zuo Y, Li Let al., 2017. The distribution of petroleum resources and characteristics of main petroliferous basins along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.Acta Geologica Sinica, 91(4): 1457-1486.The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road Initiative,abbreviated as the Belt and Road Initiative,is a primary development strategy of China's future international cooperation.Especially,the energy resource cooperation,including oil and gas resources cooperation,is an important part of this initiative.The Belt and Road has undergone complicated geological evolution,and contains abundant mineral resources such as oil,gas,coal,uranium,iron,copper,gold and manganese ore resources.Among these,Africa holds 7.8% of the world's total proven oil reserves.The oil and gas resources in Africa are relatively concentrated,with an overall low exploration degree and small consumption demand.Nigeria and Libya contain the most abundant oil resources in Africa,accounting for 2.2%and 2.9%of the world's total reserves,respectively.Nigeria and Algeria hold the richest natural gas resources in Africa,occupying 2.8%and 2.4%of the world's total reserves,respectively.Africa's oil and gas resources are mainly concentrated in Egypt,Sultan and Western Sahara regions in the northern Africa,and the Gulf of Guinea,Niger River and Congo River area in the western Africa.The Russia-Central Asia area holds rich petroleum resources in Russia,Kazakhstan,Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.The potential oil and gas areas include the West Siberia Basin,East Siberia Basin and sea continental shelf in Russia,the northern and central Caspian Basin in Kazakhstan,the right bank of the Amu-Darya Basin,the East Karakum uplift and the South Caspian Basin in Turkmenistan,and the Amu-Daria Basin,Fergana Basin,Afghan-Tajik Basin and North Ustyurt Basin in Uzbekistan.The Middle East oil and gas resources are mainly distributed in the Zagros foreland basin and Arabian continental margin basin,and the main oil-producing countries include Saudi Arabia,Iran and Iraq.The Asia Pacific region is a new oil and gas consumption center,with rapid growth of oil and gas demand.In 2012,this region consumed about 33.6%of the world's total oil consumption and 18.9%of the world's total natural gas consumption,which has been ranked the world's largest oil and gas consumption center.The oil and gas resources are concentrated in China,Indosinian,Malaysia,Australia and India.The abundant European proven crude oil reserves are in Norway,Britain and Denmark and also rich natural gas resources in Norway,Holland and Britain.Norway and Britain contain about 77.5%of European proven oil reserves,which accounts for only 0.9%of the world's proven reserves.The Europe includes main petroliferous basins of the Voring Basin,Anglo-Dutch Basin,Northwest German Basin,Northeast German-Polish Basin and Carpathian Basin.According to the analysis of source rocks,reservoir rocks,cap rocks and traps for the main petroliferous basins,the potential oil and gas prospecting targets in the Belt and Road are mainly the Zagros Basin and Arabic Platform in the Middle East,the East Barents Sea Basin and the East Siberia Basin in Russia-Central Asia,the Niger Delta Basin,East African rift system and the Australia Northwest Shelf.With the development of oil and gas theory and exploration technology,unconventional petroleum resources will play an increasingly important role in oil and gas industry.


Hudson R, 2016. Rising powers and the drivers of uneven global development.Area Development and Policy, 1(3): 279-294.Abstract The emergence of the rising powers has been seen as heralding a fundamental shift in global economic geography. It can also be seen as the latest expression of capitalist economic development. I first consider theorizations of this development as combined, uneven and crisis-prone, with an ongoing tension between processes of differentiation and equalization. I then situate the rising powers in the context of successive patterns of global uneven development, the transformation from an Old to a New International Division of Labour and then to a ‘new’ New International Division of Labour in which the emergence of the rising powers is a major element. There are, however, significant differences among the rising powers in their economic development trajectories, in the role of the state in shaping these, and in their relationships to other economies in both global North and South. Changes at the global scale are linked to changes in the intra-national geographies of economies in the new global economic geography. I conclude with some speculative remarks as to the possible future trajectories of the rising powers and how global economic geographies might evolve in future.


Kowalski P, Shepherd B, 2006. South-South trade in goods.OECD Trade Policy Papers, 4.

Lenzen M, Moran D, Kanemoto Ket al., 2012a. International trade drives biodiversity threats in developing nations. Nature, 486: 109-112.Human activities are causing Earth's sixth major extinction event - an accelerating decline of the world's stocks of biological diversity at rates 100 to 1,000 times pre-human levels. Historically, low-impact intrusion into species habitats arose from local demands for food, fuel and living space. However, in today's increasingly globalized economy, international trade chains accelerate habitat...


Lenzen M, Kanemoto K, Moran Det al., 2012b. Mapping the structure of the world economy.Environmental Science & Technology, 46: 8374-8381.We have developed a new series of environmentally extended multi-region input–output (MRIO) tables with applications in carbon, water, and ecological footprinting, and Life-Cycle Assessment, as well as trend and key driver analyses. Such applications have recently been at the forefront of global policy debates, such as about assigning responsibility for emissions embodied in internationally traded products. The new time series was constructed using advanced parallelized supercomputing resources, and significantly advances the previous state of art because of four innovations. First, it is available as a continuous 20-year time series of MRIO tables. Second, it distinguishes 187 individual countries comprising more than 15,000 industry sectors, and hence offers unsurpassed detail. Third, it provides information just 1–3 years delayed therefore significantly improving timeliness. Fourth, it presents MRIO elements with accompanying standard deviations in order to allow users to understand the reliability of ...


Lenzen M, Moran D, Kanemoto Ket al., 2013. Building Eora: A global multi-regional input-output database at high country and sector resolution.Economic Systems Research, 25: 20-49.There are a number of initiatives aimed at compiling large-scale global multi-region input utput (MRIO) tables complemented with non-monetary information such as on resource flows and environmental burdens. Depending on purpose or application, MRIO construction and usage has been hampered by a lack of geographical and sectoral detail; at the time of writing, the most advanced initiatives opt for a breakdown into at most 129 regions and 120 sectors. Not all existing global MRIO frameworks feature continuous time series, margins and tax sheets, and information on reliability and uncertainty. Despite these potential limitations, constructing a large MRIO requires significant manual labour and many years of time. This paper describes the results from a project aimed at creating an MRIO account that represents all countries at a detailed sectoral level, allows continuous updating, provides information on data reliability, contains table sheets expressed in basic prices as well as all margins and taxes, and contains a historical time series. We achieve these goals through a high level of procedural standardisation, automation, and data organisation.


Lenzen M, Murray J, Sack Fet al., 2007. Shared producer and consumer responsibility: Theory and practice.Ecological Economics, 61: 27-42.Over the past decade, an increasing number of authors have been examining the nexus of producer versus consumer responsibility, often dealing with the question of how to assign responsibility for internationally traded greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, a similar problem has appeared in drafting the standards for the Ecological Footprint: While the method traditionally assumes a full life-cycle perspective with full consumer responsibility, a large number of producers (businesses and industry sectors) have started to calculate their own footprints (see Adding any producer's footprint to other producers' footprints, or to population footprints, which all already cover the full upstream supply chain of their operating inputs, leads to double-counting: The sum of footprints of producers and consumers is larger than the total national footprint. The committee in charge of the Footprint standardisation process was hence faced with the decades-old non-additivity problem, posing the following dilemma for the accounting of footprints, or any other production factor: if one disallows double-counting, but wishes to be able to account for producers and consumers, then one cannot impose the requirement of full life-cycle coverage; the supply chains of actors have to be curtailed somehow in order to avoid double-counting. This work demonstrates and discusses a non-arbitrary method of consistently delineating these supply chains, into mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive portions of responsibility to be shared by all actors in an economy.


Li F Y, Liu W D, Tang Z P, 2013. Study on inter-regional transfer of embodied pollution in China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 68(6): 791-801. (in Chinese)Embodied resources and pollution in international trade have been drawing attention in environmental policies research area in the context of increased level of world economy integration. However, transfer pattern of embodied pollution of China is lack of detailed research. In this study, firstly, phenomena and modes of embodied pollution transfer across regions were analyzed from the geographic perspective. It was suggested that the primary reasons for embodied pollution transfer were regional division of labor and separation of production and consumption locations. Secondly, based on a multi-regional input-output table of 30 provinces of China in 2007, an assessment model was built to assess embodied pollution of regions and that in the trade across regions. Then, four types of industrial pollutants, namely SO2, COD, solid waste and heavy metal were selected as typical pollutants and quantified according to the model, after which the spatial pattern of embodied pollution transfer of China was clarified. The results revealed that China's mainland was a net exporter of embodied pollution due to international trade. On the other hand, embodied pollution was transferred from central and western regions to eastern region within domestic trade, while eastern China was much more developed than other regions in economy and urbanization. Actually, the burden of pollution abatement of eastern region was transferred to central and western regions through inter-regional trade. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang were main regions of inputting embodied pollution, while Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Guangxi were main regions of outputting embodied pollution, where the development at the expense of environmental quality would be unsustainable. The spatial pattern of embodied pollution transfer of China, which goes against regional equity, will turn regional economic differences into regional environmental differences in the future. Finally, some suggestions on pollution abatement were made accordingly based on the analysis.

Li Y L, Han M Y, 2017. Embodied water demands, transfers and imbalance of China’s mega-cities.Journal of Cleaner Production, 172: 1336-1345.

Lin B, Sun C, 2010. Evaluating carbon dioxide emissions in international trade of China.Energy Policy, 38(1): 613-621.China is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO). As exports account for about one-third of China's GDP, the CO emissions are related to not only China's own consumption but also external demand. Using the input utput analysis (IOA), we analyze the embodied CO emissions of China's import and export. Our results show that about 3357 million tons CO emissions were embodied in the exports and the emissions avoided by imports (EAI) were 2333 million tons in 2005. The average contribution to embodied emission factors by electricity generation was over 35%. And that by cement production was about 20%. It implies that the production-based emissions of China are more than the consumption-based emissions, which is evidence that carbon leakage occurs under the current climate policies and international trade rules. In addition to the call for a new global framework to allocate emission responsibilities, China should make great efforts to improve its energy efficiency, carry out electricity pricing reforms and increase renewable energy. In particular, to use advanced technology in cement production will be helpful to China's CO abatement.


Liu H G, Liu W D, Fan X Met al., 2014. Carbon emissions embodied in value added chains in China.Journal of Cleaner Production, 103: 362-370.61An IO model is used to measure carbon emissions embodied in value added chains.61New index of full emissions intensity is proposed for carbon reduction.61The net transfer of emissions caused by economic growth decreased in China.


Liu W D, Dunford M, 2016. Inclusive globalization: Unpacking China’s Belt and Road Initiative.Area Development and Policy, 1(3): 323-340.Abstract China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a call for an open and inclusive (mutually beneficial) model of cooperative economic, political and cultural exchange (globalization) that draws on the deep-seated meanings of the ancient Silk Roads. While it reflects China’s rise as a global power, and its industrial redeployment, increased outward investment and need to diversify energy sources and routes, the BRI involves the establishment of a framework for open cooperation and new multilateral financial instruments designed to lay the infrastructural and industrial foundations to secure and solidify China’s relations with countries along the Silk Roads and to extend the march of modernization and poverty reduction to emerging countries.


Liu W D, Li X, Liu Het al., 2015a. Estimating inter-regional trade flows in China: A sector-specific statistical model. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 25(10): 1247-1263.China has huge differences among its regions in terms of socio-economic development, industrial structure, natural resource endowments, and technological advancement. These differences have created complicated linkages between regions in China. In this study, building upon gravity model and location quotient techniques, we develop a sector-specific model to estimate inter-provincial trade flows, which is the base for making a multi-regional input-output table. In the model, we distinguish sectors with less intra-sector input from those with larger intra-sector input, and assume that the former sectors tend to compete among regions while the latter tend to cooperate among regions. Then we apply this new method of inter-regional trade estimation to three sectors: food and tobacco, metal smelting and processing, and electrical equipment. The results show that selection of bandwidth has a significant impact on the assessment of inter-regional trade. Trade flows are more scattered with the increase of bandwidths. As a result, bandwidth reflects the spatial concentration of geographical activities, which should be distinguishable for different industries. We conclude that the sector-specific spatial model can increase the credibility of estimates of inter-regional trade flows.


Liu Z, Guan D, Wei Wet al., 2015b. Reduced carbon emission estimates from fossil fuel combustion and cement production in China.Nature, 524: 335-338.Nearly three-quarters of the growth in global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement production between 2010 and 2012 occurred in China1, 2. Yet estimates of Chinese emissions remain subject to large uncertainty; inventories of China?s total fossil fuel carbon emissions in 2008 differ by 0.3 gigatonnes of carbon, or 15 per cent1, 3, 4,5. The primary sources of this uncertainty are conflicting estimates of energy consumption and emission factors, the latter being uncertain because of very few actual measurements representative of the mix of Chinese fuels. Here we re-evaluate China?s carbon emissions using updated and harmonized energy consumption and clinker production data and two new and comprehensive sets of measured emission factors for Chinese coal. We find that total energy consumption in China was 10 per cent higher in 2000?2012 than the value reported by China?s national statistics6, that emission factors for Chinese coal are on average 40 per cent lower than the default values recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change7, and that emissions from China?s cement production are 45 per cent less than recent estimates1, 4. Altogether, our revised estimate of China?s CO2emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production is 2.49 gigatonnes of carbon (2 standard deviations = 卤7.3 per cent) in 2013, which is 14 per cent lower than the emissions reported by other prominent inventories1, 4, 8. Over the full period 2000 to 2013, our revised estimates are 2.9 gigatonnes of carbon less than previous estimates of China?s cumulative carbon emissions1, 4. Our findings suggest that overestimation of China?s emissions in 2000?2013 may be larger than China?s estimated total forest sink in 1990?2007 (2.66 gigatonnes of carbon)9 or China?s land carbon sink in 2000?2009 (2.6 gigatonnes of carbon)10.


Marco F, David V, 2006. A South-South survival strategy: The potential for trade among developing countries.World Economy, 31(5): 663-684.Trade between developing countries, or South-South trade, has been growing rapidly in recent years following significant reductions in tariff barriers. However, significant barriers remain, and there is currently reluctance in many developing countries to undertake further reductions, with a preference instead for focusing on opening up access to developed country markets, or maintaining the status quo given that multilateral liberalization may result in the erosion of preferential access enjoyed by some developing countries. This emphasis on Northern markets represents a missed opportunity for developing countries. To assess this we compare the potential effects of the removal of barriers on South- South trade with the gains from developed country liberalization and from regional free trade areas within Africa, Asia and Latin America. A general equilibrium model, GTAP, containing information on preferential bilateral tariffs, is used to estimate the impacts. The results indicate that the opening up of Northern markets would provide annual welfare gains to developing countries of $22 billion. However, the removal of South-South barriers has the potential to generate gains 60 per cent larger. By contrast, the potential gains from further regional agreements on a continental basis are limited in Africa and Asia, although scope remains in Latin America. The results imply that giving greater emphasis to removing barriers between as well as within continents could prove a successful Southern survival strategy.


Mastrandrea M D, Field C B, Stocker T Fet al., 2010. Guidance note for lead authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties.

National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce of China, 2015. Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. (in Chinese)

Peters G P, Hertwich E G, 2008. CO2 embodied in international trade with implications for global climate policy.Environmental Science & Technology, 42(5): 1401-1407.The flow of pollution through international trade flows has the ability to undermine environmental policies, particularly for global pollutants. In this article we determine the CO2 emissions embodied in international trade among 87 countries for the year 2001. We find that globally there are over 5.3 Gt of CO2 embodied in trade and that Annex B countries are net importers of CO2 emissions. Depending on country characteristics--such as size variables and geographic location--there are considerable variations in the embodied emissions. We argue that emissions embodied in trade may have a significant impact on participation in and effectiveness of global climate policies such as the Kyoto Protocol. We discuss several policy options to reduce the impact of trade in global climate policy. If countries take binding commitments as a part of a coalition, instead of as individual countries, then the impacts of trade can be substantially reduced. Adjusting emission inventories for trade gives a more consistent description of a country's environmental pressures and circumvents many trade related issues. It also gives opportunities to exploit trade as a means of mitigating emissions. Not least, a better understanding of the role that trade plays in a country's economic and environmental development will help design more effective and participatory climate policy post-Kyoto.


Schwerhoff G, Sy M, 2017. Financing renewable energy in Africa: Key challenge of the sustainable development goals.Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 75: 393-401.Given the challenge of offering a development perspective to a rapidly growing population, it might be tempting for Africa to pursue a strategy of fueling growth with the cheapest source of energy available and take care of the environment later. Such an approach, however, would disregard the social cost of fossil fuels, which the population would have to bear. Using the Sustainable Development Goals as a benchmark for inclusive and sustainable growth we identify the synergy effects provided by renewable energy. Already, substantial efforts of financing the additional cost of RE are under way. An analysis of possible leverage points, available instruments and involved actors shows that there remains a large additional potential.


United Nations, 2013. A new global partnership: Eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development. Final Report of the UN High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, 30.

Wang C, Wang F, 2017. China can lead on climate change. Science, 357(6353): 764.With the United States' exit from the 2015 Paris Agreement (“Can U.S. states and cities overcome Paris exit?” W. Cornwall, News In Depth, 9 June, p. [1000][1]), China—the world's largest energy consumer and carbon emitter ([ 1 ][2])—can and will lead on climate change. China is already


Wiedmann T, Lenzen M,Turner Ket al., 2007. Examining the global environmental impact of regional consumption activities: Part 2: Review of input-output models for the assessment of environmental impacts embodied in trade.Ecological Economics, 61(1): 15-26.

World Bank, 20122012. World Development Indicators (accessed January 2018 at .

Wyckoff A W, Roop J M, 1994. The embodiment of carbon in imports of manufactured products: Implications for international agreements on greenhouse gas emissions.Energy Policy, 22(3): 187-194.The design of many greenhouse gas policies is predicated on controlling emissions by reducing domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This ignores the importance of carbon embodied in international trade flows which could take on increased importance if emission reduction schemes are undertaken which include only a subset of GHG emitting countries. This article estimates the amount of carbon embodied in the imports of manufactured goods to six of the largest OECD countries — Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA — in order to determine whether or not the importation of carbon rich products is a problem worth addressing. The estimates reveal that a significant amount, about 13% of the total carbon emissions of these countries, is estimated to be embodied in manufactured imports. The article concludes by suggesting a number of policy implications that can be drawn from these findings.


Zhang N, Liu Z, Zheng Xet al., 2017. Carbon footprint of China’s belt and road.Science, 357(6356): 1107.react-text: 155 This interdisciplinary project analyzes the globalizing air pollution through atmospheric transport, economic trade and their coupling, including their impacts on public health, climate and the eco…" /react-text react-text: 156 /react-text [more]


Zhu Y, Tian Z, Liu Jet al., 2016. Low Carbon Energy Systems in China: Visioning Regional Cooperation Through the Belt and Road. Singapore: Springer.Abstract China?s energy consumption growth is slowing down with the shifting to ?new normal? of China?s economy. The contradiction between energy supply and demand has been greatly alleviated. With the strengthening of improving local air quality and combating climate change, the proportion of non-fossil energy consumption is expect to rise, which will result to a growing demand for high-quality and clean energy. The Chinese government has determined to promote the development of the low-carbon economy, and coordinated the economy development with the environment and the greenhouse gas emission especially since 2000. Accordingly, a series of purpose-built policies regarding low-carbon development in China have been launched, and significant achievements have been made. The scenario analysis method, combined with the top-down approach and bottom-up approach, was adopted to help forecast the medium- and long-term energy development in China. Based on the scenario analysis results, the road-map and milestones toward the low-carbon development were illustrated and sorted-out. This chapter concludes by recommending a set of policy actions and on regional cooperation to the energy management department.


Zou J L, Liu C L, Yin G Qet al., 2015. Spatial patterns and economic effects of China’s trade with countries along the Belt and Road.Progress in Geography, 34(5): 598-605. (in Chinese)Policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bond are the focus of international cooperation of the "Belt and Road Initiative". Exports of the provinces in China to the "Belt and Road Initiative" area is the main content of the "Unimpeded trade and Financial integration," but research on trade between China and countries in the "Belt and Road Initiative" area are relatively rare,and trade interdependence remains unclear. According to the latest data from the International Trade Center, Chinese customs statistics in 2014, and Multi-regional Input-Output Table of China's 30 provinces in 2010, we analyzed the trade interdependence between China and countries of the "Belt and Road Initiative" area, and the contribution of provincial export to the GDP of each province. The results show that: trade interdependence had deepen between China and countries of the "Belt and Road Initiative" area, but the interdependence was asymmetrical; at the provincial level, the relatively high GDP contribution of exports in coastal provinces shows that these provinces are more export-dependent. Xinjiang has the highest GDP contribution of export(to Central Asia)and is thus strongly export dependent.