Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2015, Vol. 6 ›› Issue (3): 146-154.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2015.03.003

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The Net Flow of Carbon Emissions Embodied in Trade of China

LIU Junling1, WANG Ke1, ZOU Ji1,2   

  1. 1 School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China;
    2 National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2014-08-01 Revised:2014-12-29 Online:2015-05-25 Published:2015-05-22
  • Contact: WANG Ke. Email:
  • Supported by:

    National Reform and Development Commission Project “Key Program on China's Low Carbon Macro Strategy” (201212); China Clean Development Mechanism Fund project “Combining Developing Countries to Participate in International Climate Process”.


Based on the most current GTAP8 database, we analyzed flow, structure and change in tradeembodied carbon emissions between China and the developed world and the developing world from 2004 to 2007 using input-output model. We found that China was always a net embodied emissions exporting country over this period. Based on the LMDI decomposition method, we found that factors influencing net embodied emissions exported from China to developed countries and developing countries differ. Trade surpluses and differences in emissions factors were vital in determining net embodied emissions exported from China to the developed world. Differences in export structures and emissions factors were key factors influencing net emissions between China and developing countries. These were closely related to respective divisions amongst developed countries, China and other developing countries in the global industrial chain. From 2004 to 2007, the export structure of China was transformed to high-end manufacturing with domestic producing technology gradually approaching the level of developed countries. With further technological improvement, industrial upgrades and export structure optimization in China, the net export of embodied carbon emissions will decrease and the driving forces of trade for China's domestic carbon emissions will decline.