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Exporting Emissions To China

May 13, 2016
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood  


In an earlier post, Ash left this comment:


You realise China is emitting on behalf of us wealthier nations in manufacturing for us.


Of course, as we import stuff from China, it is true that we are to an extent exporting our emissions. But it is important that we get this into a proper perspective.

Last year, I produced these two graphs, showing how increased CO2 emissions in China and India utterly dwarfed reductions in the developed countries of the west.






Effectively since 2000, the rise in emissions in China and India was ten times the drop in the USA and EU. It is clear that the vast bulk of the formers emissions has gone on domestic consumption.


We can also take a look at figures for the UK. DECC publish energy consumption statistics by sector, which show that consumption in the industrial sector has fallen from 35.4 to 23.5 Mtoe between 2000 and 2014. Assuming that this drop of 11.9 Mtoe is all due to reduced production (some will surely also be due to improved energy efficiency), we can compare this with China and India.




The fall in UK consumption is barely visible when compared with China/India, where it has risen by 2256 Mtoe.

Forget the guilt trip. However much we are importing from China, its effect on their emissions is negligible.




1) BP Energy Review

2) DECC Energy Stats

  1. Ash permalink
    May 13, 2016 4:30 pm

    These graphs are meaningless !! Make the emissions per capita and take account of exported emissions via manufacturing on behalf of end users in other countries and add these to the end users respective countries and then they will mean something!

    If your argument is that the UK / EU / USA has too low a population for their emissions to be significant then you do not understand how technological / cultural change changes happen. Leader people / nations are required before the technologies and practices spread. I’m fed up of people banging on about what other countries are doing, like cutting down their forests (like UK never did that in its past) and not making changes at home.

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      May 13, 2016 4:45 pm

      How does per capita make it better? industrial production is not on a per capita basis. A factory producing x tonnes of y that moves to China produces x tonnes.

      The graphs show that the increase in Chinese emissions are far far higher than the decrease in industrialised countries emissions. That suggests that your argument about exporting emissions to China is not correct.

      • AndyG55 permalink
        May 14, 2016 9:29 am

        “That suggests that your argument about exporting emissions to China is not correct.”

        I don’t think so..

        It just shows that China is manufacturing more for itself as well.

        Its not likely to be a -1 elsewhere means only +1 in China.

        China’s growth has been far outstripping growth in other countries.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      May 13, 2016 5:13 pm

      Per capita, China’s emissions are now higher than ours. Happy now?

      The fact is that where we have closed capacity it has been replaced by capacity with much higher emissions in China. So we haven’t just exported emissions, we’ve ensured the global total rises. Close nuclear fuelled Wylfa aluminium smelter – replace by coal fired power with inefficient anodes (more CO2 as carbon anodes are consumed and more power consumed per kg of Al smelted) and high PFC emissions (6,000-9,000 times the GWP of CO2 per kg) in China.

    • May 13, 2016 6:23 pm

      Are you thick or something?

      You said “You realise China is emitting on behalf of us wealthier nations in manufacturing for us.”

      I pointed out that this is only a very small fraction of the increase in China’s emissions, most of which has gone on domestic consumption and infrastructure.

      And as has been pointed out, China’s per capita emissions are now higher than the UK’s.

    • May 13, 2016 6:27 pm

      BTW – You do realise that climate regulations in the UK have helped to export our jobs and industries to places like China.

      Not only has this resulted in higher CO2 emissions there, where energy efficiency is worse, it has also pushed up emissions for shipping, and caused real pollution (not the imaginary CO2) in Chinese cities.

  2. manicbeancounter permalink
    May 13, 2016 7:23 pm

    The negligible effect on emissions can be seen from looking at emissions per capita from 1960 for the EU, USA, China and India.
    Per capita emissions in the EU and USA fall with strong recessions. These causes the collapse of old inefficient production facilities. Some does transfer abroad, at it did from the USA and UK in the 1960s and 1970s to Japan, then South Korea.
    The recent reduction in per capita emissions in the USA is partly due to a switch to shale gas. In the EU the large fall is mostly explained by the depression in Southern Europe.
    China’s emissions growth started well before the credit crunch.

    • manicbeancounter permalink
      May 13, 2016 7:30 pm

      I uploaded the wrong graph. It should have been:-

      • AndyG55 permalink
        May 14, 2016 9:33 am

        Australia has also been losing manufacturing to China, India and elsewhere.

        Fortunately we have the raw minerals that these countries need, so our economy stands at least a chance of staying afloat.

    • manicbeancounter permalink
      May 13, 2016 7:45 pm

      The wrong graph was from the US EIA “INTERNATIONAL ENERGY OUTLOOK 2016”.
      It was referenced by theGWPF yesterday, though they failed to pick up on the most important points contained in the final section “Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions”.
      It is partly related to this post. Forecasts are through to 2040.
      Major points.
      1. CO2 Emissions will still be increasing in 2040, despite assumptions about a massive global increases in natural gas, renewables and nuclear power.
      2. The huge on-going shift in emissions from the OECD to non-OECD countries will continue.

  3. dangeroosdave permalink
    May 14, 2016 12:27 am

    In wa]hat category are the super container ships bringing us all our stuff, Chinese or American? Those dirty commies…

    • manicbeancounter permalink
      May 14, 2016 4:07 pm

      Container ships are owned by various countries. The biggest is Maersk, Denmark’s biggest company. The engines that drive them are most German and Finnish, but mostly built under licence in South Korea and China. The oil comes from all over the world.

  4. May 14, 2016 9:23 am

    Jobs seem to be our most successful export to China 😦

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