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When it comes to counting the United States’ carbon emissions two Stanford scientists say we should include the carbon emitted from the factories in foreign lands that manufacture the goods we import. Products imported by the developed countries of western Europe, Japan and the United States cause substantial emissions in other countries, especially China.
In a recent study, Ken Caldeira, an associate professor, by courtesy, of environmental earth system science at Stanford and co-author Steven Davis, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, used trade data published in 2004 to create a global model showing the flow of products from 57 industry sectors and 113 countries or regions. More than a third of the carbon dioxide emissions linked to goods and services consumed in many European countries actually occurred elsewhere, the researchers found. The report, “Consumption-Based Accounting of CO2 Emissions,” was published online before print March 8, 2010, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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