Carbon Footprint Hotspots: Mapping China’s Export-driven Emissions


The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted just how reliant the United States and other countries are on Chinese manufacturing, with widespread shortages of protective medical gear produced there.

But U.S. dependence on China extends far beyond surgical masks and N95 respirators. China is the largest producer of many industrial and consumer products shipped worldwide, and about one-quarter of the country’s gross domestic product comes from exports.

It is also the world’s largest emitter of climate-altering carbon dioxide gas, generated by the burning of fossil fuels. A new study details the links between China’s exports and its emissions by mapping the in-country sources of carbon dioxide emissions tied to products consumed overseas.

University of Michigan researchers and their Chinese collaborators tracked these emissions to a small number of coastal manufacturing hubs and showed that about 1% of the country’s land area is responsible for 75% of the export-linked CO2 emissions.

Continue reading at University of Michigan

Image via University of Michigan