China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Global Value Chains
A side event hosted at the Japan Pavilion featured a panel discussion on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with global value chains. The speakers were researchers at an NGO called the Institute of Developing Economies – Japan External Organization, and their focus was on China.
Christina Yin, Arts and Sciences '18, is a member of Cornell's COP22 delegation
The speakers first discussed the different sources of emissions in developing and developed countries: in developing countries, most emissions come from within through production and consumption; in developed countries, most emissions come from outside trade and importation.
In shifting the focus to China, the speakers discussed China’s status as a huge driver of imported and exported--consumed and produced--carbon dioxide emissions. Currently, China is seeing a growing amount of redirection, of value added to imports due to in-country processing, before exporting these products back into the international market. The tactic allows substantial overlooked emissions to exit the country. China has become a global trade hub comparable in size to Germany, and these leaked emissions from value-added processes on imports are significant.
The speakers concluded with a suggestion for a policy solution. They called for a focus on small- and medium-sized enterprise reforms, emphasizing better policymaking, monitoring, and enforcement in controlling and setting caps on these leaked emissions. The panel addressed an interesting and often-overlooked source of GHG emissions by delving into the global supply chain, and this attention is essential for action on this process.