Chinese scientists issue study calling for consumption-based carbon accounting

2024-05-30 08:52:43Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Chinese scientists released a new study – Research Report on Consumption-based Carbon Emissions (2024) in Shanghai on Wednesday, calling for the use of consumption-based accounting emissions to calculate global carbon emissions, aiming to developing a more scientific and rational accounting system.

The research report was jointly completed by scientists from the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as Tsinghua University.

The report analyzes trends of the evolution of consumption-based carbon emissions from 1990 to 2019 in major developed and developing countries. It highlights the importance of including consumption-based carbon emissions in global carbon accounting to allocate emission reduction responsibilities more effectively. The report also calls for improved methodology, data quality, and international cooperation to provide a better scientific basis for global carbon emission reduction and climate change governance.

The study is the first of its kind to be released in China, according to Wei Wei, one of the lead authors of the report and vice president of the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, CAS. "Based on the previous study, the scientists and researchers spent about one year completing the report," Wei told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Consumption-based carbon emissions focus on the carbon emissions caused by consumer behavior in the process of human activities, Wei said. In the process of achieving global carbon reduction and carbon neutrality goals, consumption-based carbon emissions accounting can effectively identify areas for future emission reduction efforts and priorities, providing scientific support and foundational data, Wei noted.

From 1990 to 2019, China’s consumption-based carbon emissions have been lower than production-based carbon emissions throughout the period. The gap between production-based and consumption-based carbon emissions increased from 700 million tons in 1990 to 1.8 billion tons in 2019, said the report.

Meanwhile, China's embodied carbon intensity in exported products decreased by 83.3 percent during the period of 1990 to 2019, reflecting that China is providing more green and low-carbon products to the world.

In 2021, China bore 100 million tons of net carbon emissions from steel raw material product trade with other countries, and 250 million tons from trade in photovoltaic products for other countries, the report noted.

The research report also emphasizes the importance of countries collaborating to achieve global carbon reduction goals. It requires implementing differentiated carbon reduction responsibilities, enhancing cooperation, and advancing global technological progress.

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