Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Outsourcing emissions

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that declines in emissions in developing world are misleading in terms of pollution gains by those nations. In short, while developed nations may be producing less emissions within their own borders ("territorial emissions"), they are consuming more products produced abroad where pollution standards are less stringent. When these "consumption emissions" are factored in, developed nations are actually producing more emissions, not less. China is the clear global leader in terms of manufacturing and outsourced emissions. My brother-in-law is currently living in China with his family (he designs running shoes for Nike), and tells us that sometimes the air is so bad that they can't go outside.

Can anyone think of a micro-level example where individual consumers outsource their pollution?

Hat tip: ENN

1 comment:

DH said...

would filling up at the pump be an example? Especially if the oil is imported and drilled internationally-less strict environmental standards, contributing to destruction of wildlife and biodiversity, loss of fertile soil, damage to farmland and aquatic ecosystems etc. This is especially true in Nigeria, due to the fact that they burn the natural gas emitted from oil drilling in flares that have left the surrounding communities void of any usable farmland (soot). I remember something from the video from 429 about the gas flaring causing as much as pollution as 18 million cars. Also, buying oil from places such as Nigeria is stagnating their economic development due to corruption and bad governance.