Embodied carbon in trade: a survey of the empirical literature

Produced as part of the Governments, markets and climate change mitigation CCCEP research programme theme

Working Paper 77


Measuring consumption-based emissions and the implied embodied emissions in trade (EET) has seen a resurgence in recent years, with a growing number of papers reporting country-level embodied emissions in imports and exports, as well as the net balance of embodied emissions in trade.

This paper compares the quantitative results reported across studies and discusses methodological and data issues that contribute to the variability of results. In doing so, it assess the extent to which this literature overall provides a consistent empirical understanding of embodied carbon flows.

Based on the assessment of the ranges of EET flows, it discusses the strengths of the conclusions drawn from the empirical literature on the various policy issues that surround the climate and trade nexus.

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