A Gaping Loophole In “Carbon Accounting”

By on September 14, 2018

September 14, 2018

It appears that the U.S. and Europe have made good progress lowering their green house gas emissions in recent years, but there is a growing apprehension that the numbers leading to any such conclusion are based on fundamentally flawed accounting. Such reductions are being achieved in large part by outsourcing production that is carbon intensive – for products like steel and cement, for example – to China, among other venues. An analysis of this trend was the shank of a recent report, from consulting firm KGM & Associates and ClimateWorks, which estimates that 25 percent of the world’s total emissions are produced in this way. Moreover, as this process plays out, it likely results not just in a different venue for a given pollution result, but rather an increase in pollution overall.  For example, according to another recent study, steel production in China results in 23 percent more carbon dioxide per ton than it does in the U.S. or Germany. (This in large part is a result of China’s greater dependency on coal in its steel production.) Some environmentalists see addressing carbon-production outsourcing as the next frontier of climate policy, and legislators in California have already made an attempt to address it by setting carbon production standards on steel the state buys for its own infrastructure projects.

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The New York Times

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