Thursday, December 20, 2007

Outsourcing Pollution

There has been a lot discussion about outsourcing of jobs overseas. Thousands of products are made in China to take advantage of lower cost labor. Another cost has recently come to light with the pollution problems plaguing China. With the massive growth in industrial output in China the pollution has come with it. It is getting so extensive that during the Olympics in 2008, factories will have to close in Beijing.

This is our problem. China did not sign Kyoto and, combined with India, will contribute half of worldwide pollution within 20 years. Economies that rely on consumer spending are creating part of this problem by demanding cheaper goods. I don't want to slam Chinese goods because they are doing what everybody has tried to do: make lots of money by leveraging their advantage. But if the recalls aren't enough to change your buying habits think about the amount of pollution you're generating with what you are buying. Not only have we put our neighbors out of work but we're going to kill a few people with pollution.

A reminder of my other site Living in a Toxic World News Service where I have aggregated feeds and a few video posts.

Finally I want to thank everyone who has made comments and sent me messages in the last couple of days. I hope to keep my content compelling enough so you come back and we can work together to expand our opinions and make positive contributions to the world around us.


Leslie said...

Hey there. Just stumbled upon you here.

Since you're something of an info junkie like me, I thought you might like some of the newsletters I've found and post as regularly as I can...
The link for International News Articles has all of them - I think. LOL

Anonymous said...

Trouble with focusing on China is we forget that the US is the biggest polluter and that China cannot import certain US cars as they don't pass their fuel emission standards....The labour market may be in China but those bucks are flooding back to the states...

Anonymous said...

I second the comment. While talking about 20 years down the line we forget the present. US is still the largest contributor of Greenhouse gases and if know it right, is yet to sign the Kyoto protocol. The per capita energy consumption is highest in US and unfortunately there is no sign of things improving in near future. With recession clouds hovering over US, I don't foresee any step on this front by US Govt.

Genghis said...

"Economies that rely on consumer spending..."? ALL economies rely on consumer spending.

FYI anonymous...the US DID sign Kyoto. The Senate by a huge margin failed to ratify it. Also, the US may be the biggest 'polluter' but the EU is rapidly catching up and the US is the most efficient: i.e. we have the lowest emissions per dollar of output.

FeButterfly said...

I should clarify the "rely on consumer spending". I believe the stat for the US economy is 70% of GSP is derived from consumer spending. This amount of consumption has created the demand for cheaper goods from places like China. By rely I mean the ability of the economy to generate growth and wealth without people buying extra cars, houses, DVDs, TV etc. I know your response will be that an economy creates goods based on the demand. This is part of the difficult debate between economics and the environment. If we can't generate a better standard of living through economic activity what is the point? At what cost do we generate that standard of living? What is a better/higher standard of living? These are the the questions that we will have to answer as a society. Your energy intensity point is valid to a certain extent but I don't feel it leads to a systemic change that is required to minimize the environmental degradation taking place under the current economic framework.

BTW, I]m not focusing on China. Is China the problem or a symptom of it? Not sure.

Anonymous said...

i agree with an earlier comment made; when we concentrate on the negative aspects of foreign countries we often forget about the negativity we spew out into the world. As the biggest world power, America has done so much, but has received very consequences for the things that it has created..

for more political viewpoints visit my site at.

erik k said...

First off,


try it, its not very easy

we as US citizens consume and waste more shit than anyone ells, we drive HUGE oversize cars that most of us don't need. But whether or not we are better or worse is not really the point, its all pollution. People need to start asking themselves, before they buy anything, do I really need this? its funny how you all talk about the economy like its just gonna keep going the way it is. The world is hitting peak oil, now. This is all happening as the demand grows. oh did I you all forget, we are going to run out of oil at some point or another. What do you think that means for the econy, the US economy is almost 100 percent based on oil. Everything that has plastic = oil, everything that has to be shiped = oil, everyone that has to drive to work = oil. take oil out of that equation and think about the structure of our current economy, what do you think will happen? and don't try to tell me bio fuels will solve all our problems, if we used 100% of our crop for bio fuels it would be only 13% percent of our fuel consumption

sure there are electric cars, but if those cars run on coal power, then from a pollution stand point its is in no way better than what we have. and don't believe the hype about clean coal, that some green washing at its worst, oh and speaking of china, google chain and coal plants and see for yourself how many coal plants they are building, its a global problem and were all gona deal with it like it or not.

oh yah and if any of you are thinking,, well hydrogen fuel cell cars will save us ask yourself where are we going to get hydrogen. well the hype will tell you that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, this of coarse is true, what they will leave out though is that it dose not exist in its pure state naturally, which means hydrogen has to be harvested this = energy. it takes energy to produce hydrogen and not just a lite bit either, and of yah theres also that pesky storage and transport issue.

what can you do?
by a bike
eat local
start a garden
and hope for the best when the shift hits the fan

Book Calendar said...

One of the main reasons the US is such a large expoerter of pollution is the perception that energy efficiency and zero pollution are not competitive.

The United States will learn the hard way when in 20 years the United States will be importing the majority of its cars because Japan and Germany are producing cars with much higher gas mileage, no pollution and doing it more cheaply than the United States.

Environmental Technology in 1990 was a $200 billion dollar industry. Pollution control is a big part of that industry. It will reach a point where the United States will be forced to import its pollution control technology or not be able to export its products to a world increasingly concerned with the environment.

Deviant Deziner said...

No outsourcing of toxic pollution in my neighborhood.

At 1412 Park Avenue Novato California , they love their pollution !
And plenty of it.