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Carbon dioxide: Blame where blame is due?

Blog: Measuring outsourcing of greenhouse gases

11:14am, December 18, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — One all-too-familiar side effect of international trade is the outsourcing of jobs, or their movement from developed nations (where production costs are relatively high) to regions where a variety of costs are relatively low.

But the geographic separation of production and consumption also has a less recognized, or at least a less frequently discussed, effect — the "outsourcing" of greenhouse gas emissions, says Steven J. Davis, a geochemist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Stanford, Calif.

Recently, Davis and his Carnegie colleague Ken Caldeira analyzed economic data for 113 countries (or groups of countries such as the Middle East) and for 57 economic sectors. In their study, the researchers estimated the amount of each country’s or region’s homegrown carbon dioxide emissions (such as those associated with construction and agriculture) as well as the amount that could be attributed to transportable items such as

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