Carbon Emissions from Exported Goods may be the fault of Importing Country
Prior to the most recent spate of global warming denial, fueled by the discovery of a few errors in a very big IPCC report, petro-conservatives' arguments against international climate agreements focused on the premise that emission caps would hurt the (oil-based) economy - in particular, America's.
But that's so Kyoto. What the petro-conservatives missed was that the U.S. does not use net carbon to export goods to other nations, because we import more than we export. China, by contrast, uses one third of its carbon emissions to produce exports - largely to the U.S.
Now, Carnegie Institution for Science writers Steven Davis and Ken Caldeira are studying "carbon flow" through the global economy. Not surprisingly, the net effect for the U.S. is that we "outsource" about 11% of our carbon emissions.
Their conclusion: If you buy a TV made in China, your demand for that set and ability to buy it can be characterized as causing the carbon emissions it took to make it. So while China (with four times America's population) now leads the world in carbon emissions, it's still your fault.