Argument: Trade liberalization is fueling global warming

Issue Report: Free trade

Supporting Evidence

  • Les Leopold.” Globalization Is Fueling Global Warming”AlterNet.December 28, 2007 ”Global free trade proponents skillfully argue for comparative advantage, opening up markets, and economies of scale. They point to the communications marvels that have flattened and shrunken the world, putting us all in contact and in competition with each other for the best ideas and products. Global warming, however, puts a kink in this new global utopia because it demands that we also include the costs of externalities — the carbon dioxide emitted from shipping and flying goods all over the globe — goods that could easily be produced much closer to the point of consumption.It may be marvelous to text message your colleague in Bangalore, but from a CO2 perspective, it’s folly to fly fresh raspberries from Chile to California. And under current trade policies, we will import the next wave of high-efficiency light bulbs to save energy while wasting some of the gain on the carbon used to transport them here from around the globe.But the elephant in the room is hyper-development. Expanded trade indeed has contributed to the enormous economic growth rates in China (and India). As a result, China’s appetite for fuel and power has grown exponentially: As The New York Times reported (June 11, 2006), every week to 10 days, another coal-fired power plant comes online in China large enough to serve a major U.S. city.”