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Research Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society | IREES News

China’s ecological footprint via biomass import and consumption is increasing

19 May 2024

Authors: Shaojian Wang,Chuanglin Fang,Xiangjie Chen,Junyi Liang,Kangyao Liu,Kuishuang Feng, Klaus Hubacek&Jieyu Wang 

Journal: communications earth & environment


As China’s economic and population demands grow, the need for biomass imports rises, presenting challenges for sustainable development and global ecosystem protection. Here we examine China’s increasing influence on global ecosystems through its biomass product consumption and trade using the Human Appropriation of Net Primary Productivity framework, analyzing data from 2004 to 2017 with projections until 2050. In 2017, China was the world’s largest biomass consumer, consuming approximately 1.75 petagrams of carbon per year, projected to rise by 317.6% by 2050, highlighting China’s major role in global ecosystem stress. Our findings also show an increase in biomass imports from lower-middle-income and low-income countries between 2004 and 2017, and these imports are expected to continue increasing by 402.9% in 2050. The analysis reveals that domestic product demand and changes in foreign production efficiency are key drivers of this trend, suggesting the need for China to shift towards more efficient trade practices and support cleaner production methods internationally.

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Last modified:23 May 2024 12.45 p.m.

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