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Globalization and pollution: tele-connecting local primary PM2.5 emissions to global consumption

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  • Jing Meng
  • Junfeng Liu
  • Yuan Xu
  • Dabo Guan
  • Zhu Liu
  • Ye Huang
  • Shu Tao

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Abstract

Globalization pushes production and consumption to geographically diverse locations and generates a variety of sizeable opportunities and challenges. The distribution and associated effects of short-lived primary fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a representative of local pollution, are significantly affected by the consumption through global supply chain. Tele-connection is used here to represent the link between production and consumption activity at large distances. In this study, we develop a global consumption-based primary PM2.5 emission inventory to track primary PM2.5 emissions embodied in the supply chain and evaluate the extent to which local PM2.5 emissions are triggered by international trade. We further adopt consumption-based accounting and identify the global original source that produced the emissions. We find that anthropogenic PM2.5 emissions from industrial sectors accounted for 24 Tg globally in 2007; approximately 30% (7.2 Tg) of these emissions were embodied in export of products principally from Brazil, South Africa, India and China (3.8 Tg) to developed countries. Large differences (up to 10 times) in the embodied emissions intensity between net importers and exporters greatly increased total global PM2.5 emissions. Tele-connecting production and consumption activity provides valuable insights with respect to mitigating long-range transboundary air pollution and prompts concerted efforts aiming at more environmentally conscious globalization.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Volume472
Issue number2195
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2016
Peer-reviewedYes

Keywords

    Research areas

  • PM2.5 emissions, multi-region input–output analysis, globalization

Bibliographic note

Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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