American Chemical Society
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Examining the Sensitivity of Global CO2 Emissions to Trade Restrictions over Multiple Years

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-31, 14:04 authored by Mingxi Du, Qiuyu Liu, Graham K. MacDonald, Yawen Liu, Jintai Lin, Qi Cui, Kuishuang Feng, Bin Chen, Jamiu Adetayo Adeniran, Lingyu Yang, Xinbei Li, Kaiyu Lyu, Yu Liu
Shocks to international trade conditions, such as imposing tariffs, not only affects the global economy but also has substantial implications for carbon emissions. However, it is unclear whether the impact of changes in trade on carbon emissions will be consistent or change over time, as both trade patterns and emission intensity are dynamic in nature. Here, we simulated the economy and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in four representative years from 2004 to 2014 under a free trade scenario and a trade restriction scenario. Our simulations show that trade restrictions would have decreased global emissions by 6.0%, 5.7%, 5.2%, and 4.7% in 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2014; however, restrictions also drove a relative increase in emission intensity for all years. Although more pressure to emit was placed on developing regions with trade development over the study period, the impacts of trade restrictions on CO2 emissions weakened due to an absolute decrease in emission intensity across regions over time, especially for developing regions. Enabling continued improvements in emission intensity in developing regions by enhancing financial assistance, knowledge sharing, and technology exchange with trade is therefore critical to ensure win-win situations for both economic development and global carbon mitigation.