Key takeaways

  • It is important to consider both production and consumption activity when assessing a country’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Developed countries’ total emissions have been relatively flat, while those of developing countries have been growing rapidly.
  • Large emitters are typically large economies, and they are not necessarily more carbon-intensive. 
  • Big polluters have a relatively small portion of their production-based emissions embedded in international trade. 
  • Policies targeted at big polluters’ exported emissions will have limited impact on their domestic emissions; significant decarbonization will need to be driven by domestic climate policies. 
  • International trade is still an important factor in global decarbonization as the total amount of emissions embedded in trade is significant. 

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