Trade affects location of air pollution deaths
Nature | March 30, 2017
In a ground-breaking interdisciplinary analysis, we quantify the global links among consumption of goods and services, production of air pollution, atmospheric transport of that pollution, and human mortality due to the pollution. We find that roughly a quarter of air pollution deaths are related to goods produced in one world region for consumption in another. Here we combine four global models to estimate premature mortality caused by fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution as a result of atmospheric transport and the production and consumption of goods and services in different world regions.
Unequal household carbon footprints in China
Nature Climate Change | December 19, 2016
Households’ carbon footprints are unequally distributed among the rich and poor due to differences in the scale and patterns of consumption. We present distributional focused carbon footprints for Chinese households and use a carbon-footprint-Gini coefficient to quantify inequalities. We find that in 2012 the urban very rich, comprising 5% of population, induced 19% of the total carbon footprint from household consumption in China, with 6.4 tCO2/cap. The average Chinese household footprint remains comparatively low (1.7 tCO2/cap), while those of the rural population and urban poor, comprising 58% of population, are 0.5–1.6 tCO2/cap.
Global carbon uptake by cement carbonation
Nature Geoscience | November 21, 2016
Calcination of carbonate rocks during the manufacture of cement produced 5% of global CO2emissions from all industrial process and fossil-fuel combustion in 2013. Here, we use new and existing data on cement materials during cement service life, demolition, and secondary use of concrete waste to estimate regional and global CO2 uptake between 1930 and 2013 using an analytical model describing carbonation chemistry. We find that carbonation of cement materials over their life cycle represents a large and growing net sink of CO2, increasing from 0.10 GtC yr−1 in 1998 to 0.25 GtC yr−1 in 2013.
Global climate forcing of aerosols embodied in international trade
Nature Geoscience | September 05, 2016
The role of trade in aerosol climate forcing attributed to different regions has never been quantified. Here, we contrast the direct radiative forcing of aerosols related to regions’ consumption of goods and services against the forcing due to emissions produced in each region. We find that global aerosol radiative forcing due to emissions produced in East Asia is much stronger than the forcing related to goods and services ultimately consumed in that region because of its large net export of emissions-intensive goods.
Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal
Nature | August 03, 2016
The world is producing ever more electrical and electronic waste. The quantity of dumped computers, telephones, televisions and appliances doubled between 2009 and 2014, to 42 million tonnes per year globally. Much of this waste ends up in the developing world, where regulation is lax. China processed about 70% of the world’s e-waste in 2012; the rest goes to India and other countries in eastern Asia and Africa, including Nigeria. Non-toxic components — such as iron, steel, copper and gold — are valuable, so are more frequently recycled than toxic ones. Disposal plants release toxic materials, volatile organic chemicals and heavy metals, which can harm the environment and human health.
Targeted opportunities for climate–trade dilemma
Nature Climate Change | September 28, 2015
International trade has become the fastest growing driver of global carbon emissions, with large quantities of emissions embodied in exports from emerging economies. International trade with emerging economies poses a dilemma for climate and trade policy: to the extent emerging markets have comparative advantages in manufacturing, such trade is economically efficient and desirable. However, if carbon-intensive manufacturing in emerging countries such as China entails drastically more CO2 emissions than making the same product elsewhere, then trade increases global CO2 emissions.