Previous studies investigated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions embodied in the trade of large groups of products by using the input–output model. However, very little attention was paid from the product’s perspective via the bottom-up process-based life cycle assessment (LCA) model. In this paper via the process-based LCA approach, GHG emissions embodied in the computer trade between China and its major trade partners were examined over the period 2002 to 2013. Results revealed that China has been the largest net exporter of GHG emissions related to computers over the last decade, where portable computer products made up the main share. In 2002, the largest trade flow of GHG emissions embodied in computers was from Taiwan to the USA, while in 2013 it was from China to the USA. Moreover, technological innovation and geographical variability were taken into consideration as emission factors of computers, as well as the uncertainty analysis. This study found that the main driver of computer-related emissions embodied in international trade is industry transfer. The actual production of computers has shifted steadily away from the USA, firstly to Taiwan and ASEAN, but now almost entirely to China. Results of this study suggest that reduction of carbon emission is destined to be a global responsibility.
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