Global transfer of embodied energy: From source to sink through global value chains

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Journal Article
Sustainable Production and Consumption, 2022, 31, pp. 39-51
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Under the global value chain (GVC) division system, international trade not only drives the flows of value-added among economies but also facilitates the transfer of embodied energy around the world. Based on the newly released World Input-Output Tables and environmental accounts, this study applies the gross trade accounting method to trace the embodied energy in GVCs from 2000 to 2014. Results show that the volume of global energy embodied in exports shows a clear upward trend with the deepening of the GVC division. The sectoral distribution of energy embodied in the domestic value-added of different economies is generally attributed to their roles in the GVC division system, while the participation degree and division connections in GVCs crucially affect the energy embodied in the foreign value-added. Moreover, the global embodied energy transfer network shows prominent characteristics of multi-polarization, which coincides with the features of the GVC division network. In addition to the EU and the United States, China is emerging as the third center in the global embodied energy transfer network. The findings suggest that the GVC division system could be a feasible platform for global energy conservation, and central economies, especially the United States and China, should play leading roles in tackling climate change through energy cooperation.
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