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Re-investigating the shared responsibility for trade-embodied carbon emissions

26 April 2024

Authors: Shuping Li, Jing Meng , Klaus Hubacek , Shaikh M.S.U. Eskander, Yuan Li, Peipei Chen & Dabo Guan

Journal: Nature climate change


Many economies set climate mitigation targets for 2020 at the 2009 15th Conference of the Parties conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen. Yet no retrospective review of the implementation and actual mitigation associated with these targets has materialized. Here we track the national CO2 emissions from both territory and consumption (trade adjusted) perspectives to assess socioeconomic factors affecting changes in emissions. Among the 34 countries analysed, 12 failed to meet their targets (among them Portugal, Spain and Japan) and 7 achieved the target for territorial emissions, albeit with carbon leakage through international trade to meet domestic demand while increasing emissions in other countries. Key factors in meeting targets were intensity reduction of energy and the improvement of the energy mix. However, many countries efforts fell short of their latest nationally determined contributions. Timely tracking and review of mitigation efforts are critical for meeting the Paris Agreement targets.

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Last modified:26 April 2024 11.26 a.m.

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