Discussion Papers

No.486 Tracing CO2 Emissions in Global Value Chains

by Bo MENG , Glen PETERS and Zhi WANG

January 2015


This paper integrates two lines of research into a unified conceptual framework: trade in global value chains and embodied emissions. This allows both value added and emissions to be systematically traced at the country, sector, and bilateral levels through various production network routes. By combining value-added and emissions accounting in a consistent way, the potential environmental cost (amount of emissions per unit of value added) along global value chains can be estimated. Using this unified accounting method, we trace CO2 emissions in the global production and trade network among 41 economies in 35 sectors from 1995 to 2009, basing our calculations on the World Input–Output Database, and show how they help us to better understand the impact of cross-country production sharing on the environment.

Keywords: Value-added, Embodied emissions, Global value chains, Input–output
JEL classification: E01, E16, F1, F14, F18, Q5, Q54, Q56

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