Aerosol emissions in East Asia driven by consumption in developed countries



Radiative forcing due to aerosol and aerosol precursor emissions in East Asia is significantly influenced by emissions caused as a result of demand for goods and services from developed nations, according to a study recently published in Nature Geoscience.

Global trade shifts the regional aerosol loading, produced from industrial processes or fossil fuel burning, from countries where goods are consumed to those where they are produced. East Asia in particular is a large net exporter, hence regional aerosol radiative forcing is strongly linked with production of goods, whereas in Western Europe, North America and Oceania aerosol radiative forcing is linked with consumption of goods. Although globally the effects of positive forcing from black carbon and negative forcing from (primary) organic and secondary inorganic aerosol to some extent cancel out, international trade may introduce regional variability in this balance leading to spatial differences in radiative forcing with consequences for regional climate.

The growing health burden in East Asia associated with exposure to aerosol pollution may also be partly attributable to international trade. The authors suggest that emissions ‘embodied in trade’, and potential means for developing nations to reduce emissions based on technology transfer or cost-sharing relating to improved regulations, should be considered in future assessments of ways to reduce global aerosol pollution.

Further comment from Science Daily