2012-11-27 Globalization and the Environment.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2137
Cameron Harrington

Globalization and the Environment November 27, 2012 The whole planet is now one economic community, and the proper exploitation of its natural resources demands one comprehensive direction. (H.G. Wells, 1946) The present-day global set of local sovereign states is . . . not capable of saving the biosphere from man-made pollution or of conserving the biosphere’s non-replaceable natural resources . . . Will mankind murder Mother Earth or will he redeem her? This is the enigmatic question which now con- fronts (sic) Man. (Arthur Toynbee, 1976) The facts are plain and uncontestable: the biosphere is finite, nongrowing, closed (except for the constant input of solar energy), and constrained by the laws of thermodynamics.Any subsystem, such as the economy, must at some point cease growing and adapt itself to a dynamic equilibrium, something like a steady state. (H.E. Daly, 2005) -globalization: erosion of borders, increase of global trade, communication and technology expanding, interconnection of crisis -after WWII (1945-1946)we see movement into new world order -since end of WWII: we see unprecedented growth in population and economy -in 50 years, the world GDP grew 2.5 times -explosion in economy due to rapid expanding population -1950: world population: 2.5 billion people -2012: 7 billion people -addition of 4.5 billon people = huge environmental impact -rapidly expanding economy -exploitation of natural resources: profound changes in global environment as a result of spread of neo-economy and growth of population -economic globalization: integration of world economy -integration of every state’s economy: more interconnected form -bilateral and multilateral trade agreements: rapidly expanding growth between nations and rapid erosion of governments in economy -trade (exports +imports): account for 24% of world GDP in 1960 -trade between nations -1985: up to 38% -2005: 52% -rapidly integrating of world economies -over ½ of economic activity is now through trade -all risks are due to human activities -according to UNEP’s Environmental Outlook -also measures success -global environmental outlook: 40 out of 90 -globalization takes advantage of the environment -we think that if we continue to grow, we don’t have to care much about global warming, and that human ingenuity will solve all the problems Globalization and Climate Change • Durban, 2011 – Meeting to determine the future of climate change agreements, post- Kyoto • How to reconcile different domestic policies in an era of rapidly expanding globalization? • Since 1990 the world has changed – is globalization a force for good or bad? % Change in CO2 emissions – 1990­ 2010 Europe ­7% Russia ­28% Japan n/c US +5% Canada +20% Australia +46% India +180% China +257% -Canada seen as a failure in meeting Kyoto’s targets -other countries weren’t pulling their weights as well -global warming as a result of industrialization -Kyoto more focused on the Western countries (high industrialization) -Peter KentKyoto is in the past; Canada is looking into the future -want to create regional agreement; pull out of the country framework -want to coordinate with US and reduce emissions on our own targets -Canada won the Fossil of the Year award: because of the attitude we have -Durban 2011 – considered to be a failure -huge emissions from big industrialized countries: China, India,Australia, Canada, US -Europe: able to bring emissions 7% from what they were in 1990 -Kyoto: can be considered a failure, but there’s some success -complexity of getting all these countries to be on board -Russia in 1991 (Soviet Union): state economy -after collapse of Soviet Union: they disbanded inefficient economies -Japan: no change Defining Globalization  Stretching of social/political/economic spheres  Growing magnitude/intensity of interconnections  Accelerating pace of interactions Much more than just a “borderless world” -choices individuals/communities made become increasingly important because of the impacts that are felt can be immediate -ask for shared consciousness to merge -celebrate pace of interaction -accelerating pace of internet (news, goods, capital) = increasing in speed = profound effect on world -borderless world -norms and state systems changing -scope and reach of state actor being limited -state giving powers to actors (e.g. TNC, NGOs, WTO, UN, International Political Organization) -actors growing in number and power -erosion of state powers, not just borders Three Positions:  Optimists  Pessimists  Transformationalists “A historical process involving a fundamental shift or transformation in the spatial scale of human social organization that links distant communities and expands the reach of power relations across regions and continents. “ -optimists: possible for technology to make the world better…? -pessimists: say globalization is responsible for further degradation -we are heading towards a disaster -transformationalists: -let’s take the middle road -globalization can be good or bad; depends on how we use it -globalization presents opportunities and crisis -sustainable development -quote: spread ideas across time and space -globalization not just about economics; it is about ideas -not a singular process; it’s multidimensional -affects a bunch of social activities (e.g. Politics, economics, social, cultural) -historical process: something long in the way of coming -assymmetrical: globalization felt differently around the world -the way we experience globalization is different for people in sub-SaharanAfrica -uneven impact -even within countries, elites in countries feel globalization much differently from people who are in the middle class in the country Globalization and a Healthy Environment: Optimists  Globalization increases economic growth/per capita income  Integration/cooperation  “Rising tide lifts all boats”  Better environmental management  Environmental problems are overblown media hype  Malthus was wrong (human ingenuity) -globalization is increasing wealth; fostering economic growth, raises per capita income -better en
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