Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Consumption, carbon emissions and international trade

10.05.2011
Accurately calculating the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the process of producing and bringing products to our doorsteps is nearly impossible, but still a worthwhile effort, two Carnegie researchers claim in a commentary published online this week by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Global Ecology department's Ken Caldeira and Steven Davis commend the work of industrial ecologist Glen Peters and colleagues, published in the same journal late last month, and use that team's data to do additional analysis on the disparity between emissions and consumption in different parts of the world.

Caldeira and Davis point out that carbon is released at many stages of the production process including the energy used in creating each component of a product, CO2 released in making the manufacturing equipment, and carbon released by vehicles transporting factory workers to and from their jobs.

"Very quickly, we see that nothing exists in isolation and that to understand how much emission can be related to any particular action, we must have a reasonable accounting system that allocates total CO2 emissions to specific actions," Caldeira said. "The accounting system must conform to our intuitions about how responsibility should be shared among participants in complex systems."

Caldeira and Davis say Peters and his team are leaders in asking questions about how much CO2 consumption in the United States and other developed countries—used here to signify nations that made commitments under the Kyoto Protocol— is supported by CO2 in developing countries.

The earlier PNAS-published study looked at the impact of goods and services that were consumed in developed countries, but produced in developing ones. Peters and team found decreased emissions in the former since 1990, and increased emissions in the latter. But when emissions from the production of goods were transferred to the place where the goods were consumed, then the trend in developed countries was reversed.

The Carnegie scientists took this data and broke it down in terms of per-capita and per-dollar gross domestic product. They found that on a per-capita basis the average person in developed countries is responsible for more CO2 emissions than his or her counterpart in the developing world. And the amount of CO2 emitted per dollar of GDP is improving at similar rates between the two categories.

Caldeira and Davis concluded that "the focus on territorial emissions … has perhaps led us to underemphasize the role of consumption of goods and services in driving these emissions. It is important to look at all drivers of emissions, as everyone along the supply chain has a vested interest in the benefits that accrue from our fossil-fueled global economy."

The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future. The department is located on the campus of Stanford University, but is an independent research organization funded by the Carnegie Institution. Its scientists conduct basic research on a wide range of large-scale environmental issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, biological invasions, and changes in biodiversity.

The Carnegie Institution for Science (carnegiescience.edu) is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

Ken Caldeira | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.stanford.edu

Further reports about: CO2 CO2 emission Caldeira Consumption Ecology Global Ecology

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>