Increases in carbon-intensive imported goods have negated cuts in carbon emissions by developed countries since 1990, finds a new report published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The Kyoto Protocol assigns emissions from the production of goods to the country where production takes place, rather than the country where the goods are consumed. In the past decade, however, developed countries have increasingly replied on carbon-intensive imports from developing countries, where binding emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol are not in effect.

By not including the offshored emissions involved in the production of imports, this territory-based emissions accounting paints a misleading picture of the overall carbon emissions of developed economies.

According to the Guardian, the report finds that:

According to standard data, developed countries can claim to have reduced their collective emissions by almost 2% between 1990 and 2008. But once the carbon cost of imports have been added to each country, and exports subtracted - the true change has been an increase of 7%. If Russia and Ukraine - which cut their CO2 emissions rapidly in the 1990s due to economic collapse - are excluded, the rise is 12%.

Photo by monstamash.