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A Science study contributed by Tsinghua SIGS reveals land-use emissions embodied in international trade

A Science study contributed by Tsinghua SIGS reveals land-use emissions embodied in international trade

SHENZHEN, China, Nov. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Chaopeng Hong’s team at the Institute of Environment and Ecology, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School (Tsinghua SIGS), has developed a consumption-based accounting system by combining new emissions estimates and a multiregional input-output model, to evaluate land-use greenhouse gas emissions embodied in international trade from 2004 to 2017. Their study found that more than a quarter of global land-use emissions are tied to agricultural products traded internationally. The study suggests that in the context of economic globalization, effective and deep mitigation of global greenhouse gases may require concerted efforts by global economic stakeholders. Dr. Hong’s research article entitled “Land-use emissions embodied in international trade”, has been published in Science on May 5, 2022 (https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abj1572).

Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School
Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School

The Institute of Environment and Ecology
The Institute of Environment and Ecology

Human land use and agricultural activities, while producing vast quantities of agricultural products for human consumption, have also disrupted ecosystems and altered the climate system. Emissions from land-use change and agriculture are estimated to account for more than 20 percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. However, international trade allows goods and services produced in one region to be consumed elsewhere, separating consumption from its environmental impacts. Chaopeng Hong and collaborators found that more than a quarter of global land-use emissions are related to agricultural products ultimately consumed in a different region from where they were produced, with the largest transfers from lower-income countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Argentina to more industrialized regions such as Europe, the United States, and China. Mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable development may thus depend on improving the transparency of supply chains.

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