Temporal change in India’s imbalance of carbon emissions embodied in international trade

Zhenyu Wang, Jing Meng, Heran Zheng, Shuai Shao, Daoping Wang, Zhifu Mi, Dabo Guan

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In India, rapid industrialization and reorganization of the global supply chain are driving economic growth, accompanied by increasing exports and carbon emissions. India is poised to succeed China as the next world manufactory, which will lead to huge emissions in the country. To formulate appropriate emission mitigation measures, it is necessary to further understand the temporal change in India’s emissions at the sectoral level from both the production and consumption perspectives. However, existing studies that have estimated emissions in India have paid less attention to the link among original emitters, final producers and final consumers and to its temporal change. Based on an emission inventory compiled in this study, we trace emission flows from original emitters to final producers and then to final consumers through the international supply chain by using an environmentally extended multi-regional input-output model. This study finds that both production-based and consumption-based emissions in India increased constantly from 2000 to 2014, and production-based emissions had higher growth rates due to the increased coal share. The major receivers of India’s exported emissions were developed countries (e.g., the European Union and the United States), while the main sources of India’s imported emissions were developing countries (e.g., China and Russia). From 2011 to 2014, India’s net exported emissions increased by 29.2% because of the decrease of imported emissions. Moreover, intermediate products (63% and 73.7%) were the major contributors to exported and imported emissions, most of which were embodied in manufacturing products (48.8% and 65.7%, respectively). Therefore, international cooperation to optimize the energy and trade structure and to improve energy efficiency can be effective in mitigating carbon emissions in India.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-925
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date27 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • India
  • Production-based emissions
  • Consumption-based emissions
  • Embodied emission imbalance
  • Total emission intensity
  • Multi-regional input-output analysis

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