Study urges using CBA emissions in calculating global carbon emissions

Study urges using CBA emissions in calculating global carbon emissions
31 / 05 / 2024
By Marwa Nassar - -

A new study – conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences – has called for the use of consumption-based accounting (“CBA”) emissions in calculating global carbon emissions in order to help make allocating responsibility for reducing emissions just and fair. 

The study, “Research Report on Consumption-based Carbon Emissions (2024)”, was jointly completed by scientists from Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, CAS, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Urban Environment, CAS and Tsinghua University

The study presents the latest research results on global carbon emissions from the consumption perspective.

The scientists analyzed the evolution of CBA emissions in major developed and developing countries from 1990 to 2019, with focus on assessing the carbon transfer effects of key trade products. 

“Carbon emission accounting is the key basis for global emission reduction and climate change governance,” said WEI Wei, one of the lead authors of the report and also a researcher at the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute of CAS.

WEI noted that the widely adopted PBA (production-based accounting) method does not consider the implicit contribution of economic activities-especially international trade-to carbon emissions. The CBA method could help clarify how the responsibility for global emissions reduction could be fairly attributed to producers and customers, he said.

The report pointed out that from 1990 to 2019, the CBA emissions of major developed countries were higher than PBA emissions throughout the period, while the opposite was true for major developing countries. 

For major developing countries, the gap between CBA and PBA emissions gradually increased from 1.47 Gt in 1990 to 4.17 Gt in 2019.  

According to the Report, China’s CBA had been lowering than its PBA from 1990 to 2019. The gap between China’s PBA and CBA emissions increased from 0.7 Gt in 1990 to 1.8 Gt in 2019. Meanwhile, China’s embodied carbon intensity in exported products decreased by 83.3% during this period, showing that China is providing more and more green and low-carbon products to the world.

In 2021, China bore 100 million tons of net carbon emissions from trade in steel products and 250 million tons from trade in photovoltaic products for other countries.

In addition, the report suggests to improve CBA emission methods with broader products range and to establish a CBA methodology that combines top-down and bottom-up approaches that focus on region-level emissions and product-level emissions, respectively, with the goal of obtaining more in-depth, accurate and comprehensive results.

The report also noted that in order to achieve global carbon reduction goals, all countries across the world should work together to promote science and technology advancement. Countries need to jointly deal with climate change by taking common but differentiated carbon reduction responsibilities.

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