China’s reaction to news it’s the largest CO2 emitter.

I will hand you over to 3E Intelligence, who have written up a very good blog post on this topic and the wider implications, which are frankly, staring us in the face;

‘China’s reaction to the news that is has become the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter underlines that in a globalised world without borders it is a an absurdity to blame individual countries for their share of emissions.

According to Associated Press, the Chinese government criticised developed countries for being “hypocritical” when they criticise China’s greenhouse gas emissions while buying products from its booming manufacturing industry. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed out that the West has outsourced a lot of its manufacturing to China and that therefore the emissions are produced to make products for European and American citizens. He also underlined again that a Chinese citizen emits less than one quarter of an American.

The Chinese are of course absolutely right. In a world that has become “one spaceship”, we all emit not only for ourselves but also for others. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we will be able to move from a world economy based on competing countries to one “spaceship earth economy” where competitiveness will have been replaced by interdependent cooperation. But what stands in the way of this vision are political and international governance structures which were built in the age of national sovereignty.’

The point about nations fighting the blame game over emissions has been something that The Coffee House has also discussed recently.

There is no point in nations and peoples going head to head on CO2 emissions and climate change. Solutions will only come from a shared plan of action. Pete’s post directly below hints at how that is beginning to happen in various ways.

This entry was posted in Business, Carbon trading, China, Climate change, Development, Economics, Energy, Politics, Pollution, Population, War & security. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to China’s reaction to news it’s the largest CO2 emitter.

  1. inel says:

    A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed out that the West has outsourced a lot of its manufacturing to China and that therefore the emissions are produced to make products for European and American citizens. He also underlined again that a Chinese citizen emits less than one quarter of an American.

    This is a crucial point. As consumers, we can try to avoid buying products made cheaply in China, as far as possible. However, most people do not think this way—this is counter-cultural and goes against most marketing programs. When shopping, many people cannot afford or get access to local (expensive) alternatives easily, and are not aware of these implications of pollution interconnection in the first place. Our economic system is designed so that it is easier/cheaper/quicker for us to be Earth-damaging than planet-friendly, isn’t it?

  2. matt says:

    Consumption, consumption. consumption.

    The move of manufacturing to China and other countries for cheap labour has produced a paradigm shift in consumer’s behaviour as many products are now so cheap BUT, also the products are of an incredibly low,low quality.

    Because products are dirt cheap and built not to last the following combination of things are happening;

    1. consumers buy more of one type of product than they need, leading to excessive consumption and increased waste

    2. consumers have no respect for the value of a product. If they lose it or break it they just buy another

    3. products are so cheap that repairing something is uneconomical, with western wages for repairs competing with low manufacturing wages in say, China. Products end up in landfill, particularly electrical products, from kettles right up to TVs and fridges, although EU Directives should mean this is avoided.
    The WEEE Directive should begin soon to put the pressure back on manufacturers to produce longer lasting products and environmentally more acceptable because, the WEEE will require them to pay for disposal of their own products, directly or indirectly. 🙂

    A case example; GENT, a manufacturer of Fire detector equipment has to now dispose of their customer’s old detectors. Their ionization range of detectors has now been dropped because they cost £22 each to dispose of because they are radioactive. Not at all good for the environment! They only cost £25 to buy! Now a new range has been designed with cheaper disposal costs in mind and involving non-radiation technology or, the whole life cycle of the product has now been thought through.

    Things do need to change. EU Directives, boring and dry as they are, can effect real change in business and consumer behaviour. So, it’s up to us as well as China to look at the whole life cycle of a product. The blame game is fruitless!!

  3. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    To condense a very complex subject into a fairly short comment, we should all be glad that China is growing up. Considering that they have ICBMs and the nuclear warheads to top them, combined with an unstable totalitarian Government, and a very large army, best, as I see it, that they keep their population happy, and do what they can to reduce their numbers. Since, even in the face of what can happen to a citizen living under a repressive regime, people are rioting in the streets over the reproduction laws placed on them, if they suddenly became a free society, their population and CO2 emissions would increase at a rate which would make your head spin. While it chaps my ass to say it, there are times when it is best to wait for the right moment, before pressing for justice.

    As to poor quality foreign products, they have their place. Really, I can buy a pair of socks, jeans, shoes, etc. that are made in the US for ten times what I would spend on an import, and, considering how I use them, they won’t last any longer. For those clothing items that I only wear on the rare occasion that I need to conform to my wife’s sense of what is fashionable, I buy the quality product. Of course, I have had to do this more often than one would consider necessary, because fashions change, and that fine shirt/pair of shoes/pants/suit/neck tie/belt…, which is still in great shape, has to be replaced anyway.

    You also have to balance this with the fact that, at least in the US, we are hovering at full employment. If we suddenly decided to make all the cheap products we import here, it wouldn’t work, because there would be no workers available. Of course, we could shift manpower away from service jobs, but that would create, in an environment where wages from manufacturing were shooting up, a huge demand for domestic services. Couples where both partners work, have to have help with domestic duties, else one of them has to stay home and keep house.

    Now, if that happens, then we have a shortage of skilled workers. This requires that we either import the necessary skilled workers from overseas, which, in our current political climate isn’t going to happen, or that we import cheap unskilled domestic workers, who’s labors will allow both skilled spouses to continue their employment. Of course, in the latter scenario, the price of living will climb rapidly, and the imported workers will face a future as virtual slaves. This will be made even worse, as our refusal to import cheap manufactured goods will keep the economies of third world countries repressed, making the pool of willing slaves very large.

    Personally, I would prefer to have the option of buying cheap crap, when that does the job, and saving up to purchase quality items when I feel that will benefit me in the long run. If most people are not capable of doing this, then that is the fault of our education system, which is another discussion.

    Oh, and it would be nice if y’all would sign your posts so I know who I am replying to 🙂

    the Grit

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