FYI: Outsourcing Carbon

For some reason, I’d thought I’d posted this already, but since I can’t seem to find it, and since the next round of climate change talks are about to start, it’s worth repeating.

This is a picture of the carbon emitted by China that turns out to be accounted for by consumption in other countries. In other words, what has happened is that countries in Europe and North America, for instance, have managed to shrink their carbon footprint by getting China to do a great deal of emitting. And then they turn to China and refuse to move forward in the negotiations until China does its bit to reduce greenhouse gases.

Read the full report here.

4 Replies to “FYI: Outsourcing Carbon”

  1. Hi Raj,

    This is just a message of encouragement and admiration. I am ashamed to admit that I have only recently begun to look further into global issues involving food. I have always been a passionate vegetarian, but I have never had the motivation to look past my own doorstep (or my own personal ethics I guess). Finding your website and your book “Stuffed and Starved” has prompted me not only to start food shopping with greater care, but it has also started a chain reaction for me to become a less globally ignorant person (for lack of a better term). I have exhausted your website and am now going through your links. I am also becoming more proactive with promoting vegetarianism in my home town (Wellington, New Zealand). In order to have any sort of positive impact on the world we must first change ourselves. You have prompted me to further change myself.

    Your sincere fan and admirer,


  2. This data is interesting but I’m not sure what to do with it. It is still China’s government that’s responsible for creating the laws needed to restrain carbon emissions by companies that produce within its borders. Consumers just do what they are taught to do by nature: they try to get as much as they can at the lowest possible cost.

  3. Z, do you actually think it was nature that taught us to become such oblivious consumers (the effect of which obliviousness is now poised to destroy nature herself)?

    This is indeed one of the central themes in any of Dr. Patel’s discourses: The true cost of our consumption, and the way we are prodded to unthinkingly consume as much as we can… Conditioned in this way not by nature but by they who reap the monetary profits from the resulting knee-jerk spending. Raj is trying to tell us that the imperative of “the lowest possible cost” is costing us our planet.

    And it is telling that in responding to this piece you identified yourself only as a consumer, and not as a citizen that might have your say in what laws your government could help create in the climate change talks mentioned in the first sentence of the post.

    This is who the corporate giants want us to see ourselves as: consumers and only consumers.

    What to do with the data? Let it make you more aware. Awareness precedes any wise action.

  4. Small minds tend to think in PR, short term, advertising. To them this looks very clever. LOOKS like someone else’s problem, the bad is on someone else’s face. What the world needs most is smarts all around. Thanks, you keep on.

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