For the first time, this study creates and introduces a new determinant to be used in empirical models of environmental pollution, especially in the USA. This new determinant, created as the domestic-exports/re-exports ratio, arises from the need due to the changing content and structure of exports in the increasingly complex world trade network. Because many countries, preeminently the USA, export imported products to other countries, they re-export. While re-export does not require a production-stage process in a country, domestic export does and can cause production-related environmental pollution. Therefore, this difference may require using re-export and domestic export separately instead of total export in models. Another determinant that we propose to use in the US models is the climate policy uncertainty index. The rationale for proposing this index is based on the decisive role of governments' uncertain climate policies on the environment, and the USA is the only country with this index. Using these two determinants together makes it possible to examine the impact of both government climate policy uncertainties and international trade on environmental pollution since both factors can contribute to pollution. The SVAR model, Impulse-Response Function, and Variance Decomposition were applied between February 2002 and November 2021. Empirical findings indicate that a rising share of re-exports (clean exports) in total exports (83 %), does lead to a decrease in CO2 emissions. In addition, this new determinant created in this study, which we found to be significantly explanatory of CO2, can be used in future environmental models. Finally, we also found that rising uncertainty in climate policy in the USA does not affect PCO2 emissions. Using the domestic-export/re-export ratio as a determinant in pollution models can provide policymakers with a valuable tool to monitor and analyze the environmental impact of trade patterns.