Consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions accounting with capital stock change highlights dynamics of fast-developing countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Traditional consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions accounting attributed the gap between consumption-based and production-based emissions to international trade. Yet few attempts have analyzed the temporal deviation between current emissions and future consumption, which can be explained through changes in capital stock. Here we develop a dynamic model to incorporate capital stock change in consumption-based accounting. The new model is applied using global data for 1995–2009. Our results show that global emissions embodied in consumption determined by the new model are smaller than those obtained from the traditional model. The emissions embodied in global capital stock increased steadily during the period. However, capital plays very different roles in shaping consumption-based emissions for economies with different development characteristics. As a result, the dynamic model yields similar consumption-based emissions estimation for many developed countries comparing with the traditional model, but it highlights the dynamics of fast-developing countries.


  • Zhan Ming Chen
  • Stephanie Ohshita
  • Manfred Lenzen
  • Thomas Wiedmann
  • Magnus Jiborn
  • Bin Chen
  • Leo Lester
  • Dabo Guan
  • Jing Meng
  • Shiyun Xu
  • Guoqian Chen
  • Xinye Zheng
  • Jin Jun Xue
  • Ahmed Alsaedi
  • Tasawar Hayat
  • Zhu Liu
External organisations
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Sydney
  • University of New South Wales
  • Beijing Normal University
  • Nagoya University
  • Tsinghua University
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Cambridge
  • King Abdulaziz University
  • Peking University
  • Quaid-i-Azam University
  • Renmin University of China
  • Lantau Group (HK) Limited
  • China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI)
  • Center of Hubei Coordinative Innovation for Emissions Trading System
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Climate Research
Original languageEnglish
Article number3581
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 4
Publication categoryResearch