Curbing world trade through policies such as CO2 tariffs would probably only have a small affect on global emissions reveals a new report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in a study appearing in Nature Climate Change.
As goods are produced CO2 is transferred from one country to another. “Typically, in the West we import goods whose production causes a lot of greenhouse gas emissions in poorer countries where they are made – and it is a contested question to which countries these emissions should be attributed,” explains Michael Jakob one of the authors of the report.
Many Western countries have very bold goals for reducing CO2 emissions. The report emphasizes that Western countries cannot simply move production of goods to another country – they are simply shifting their CO2 debt not removing it, and possibly damaging their own economy at the same time.