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Research Report Says West Should Share Pollution Responsibility with China

A report published by a climate change research institute says about a quarter of China's carbon emissions are from the manufacture of goods exported to the West. The report suggests that countries importing Chinese goods should share the responsibility of the pollution caused by their manufacture. Tendai Maphosa has more from London.

China's rapidly growing economy has catapulted that country to its position as the world's leading polluter.

But a report published by the Tyndall Centre, a climate change research institute, says some 23 percent of China's carbon emissions are generated during the manufacture of goods destined for Western consumers.

The report is called "Made in China." It questions the current practice of deciding who is responsible for emission reduction by counting carbon emissions within national borders.

It further suggests that a fair assessment of a nation's carbon footprint would include imported goods manufactured elsewhere.

Tao Wang of the University of Sussex is one of the report's co-authors.

He says although exports of carbon intensive products such as rolled steel and aluminum are increasing at more than 50 percent annually, the majority of China's trade surplus comes from less carbon intensive goods such as textiles and consumer electronics. Wang tells VOA that developed countries have a responsibility to help developing countries reduce emissions.

"Because of the huge amount of exports and manufacturing shipped to developed countries I think it's also fair to ask OECD countries to help developing countries by providing more efficient technology transfers to help them to reduce their carbon emissions," he said.

The United States argues against industrial countries reducing their emissions unless new economies like China and India also do so. But the report notes that the United States is the top destination for exports of Chinese made goods.

Wang argues that developed countries should take the lead in reducing emissions.

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