CO2 emissions are typically measured on the basis of ‘production’. This accounting method – which is sometimes referred to as ‘territorial’ emissions – is used when countries report their emissions, and set targets domestically and internationally.
In addition to the commonly reported production-based emissions statisticians also calculate ‘consumption-based’ emissions. These emissions are adjusted for trade. To calculate consumption-based emissions we need to track which goods are traded across the world, and whenever a good was imported we need to include all CO2 emissions that were emitted in the production of that good, and vice versa to subtract all CO2 emissions that were emitted in the production of goods that were exported.
Consumption-based emissions reflect the consumption and lifestyle choices of a country’s citizens.
Which countries in the world are net importers of emissions and which are net exporters?
In the interactive map we see the emissions of traded goods. To give a perspective on the importance of trade these emissions are put in relation to the country’s domestic, production-based emissions.
• Countries shown in red are net importers of emissions – they import more CO2 embedded in goods than they export.
• For example, the USA has a value of 7.7% meaning its net import of CO2 is equivalent to 7.7% of its domestic emissions. This means emissions calculated on the basis of ‘consumption’ are 7.7% higher than their emissions based on production.
• Countries shown in blue are net exporters of emissions – they export more CO2 embedded in goods than they import.
• For example, China’s value of -14% means its net export of CO2 is equivalent to 14% of its domestic emissions. The consumption-based emissions of China are 14% lower than their production-based emissions.
We see quite a regional East-West split in net exporters and importers: most of Western Europe, the Americas, and many African countries are net importers of emissions whilst most of Eastern Europe and Asia are net exporters.
You can find these figures in absolute (tonnes of CO2) and per capita terms for each country in the Additional Information section.