Do Outsourced Carbon Emissions Make Domestic Targets Meaningless?
Matthew wrote before about the problem of outsourced carbon emissions, or the phenomenon of richer nations boasting emissions reductions while their manufacturing sectors move over seas. As the UK government commits to 50% CO2 reduction by 2025, and as campaigners look to ensure that cuts are made at home, not through international emissions trading, Geroge Monbiot is again turning his attention to this simpler form of emissions outsourcing. To really deliver, he says, Britain's CO2 reduction targets need to include imports of manufactured goods:
Officially, the UK's greenhouse gas emissions have fallen from 788 million tonnes in 1990 to 566 million tonnes in 2009. Unofficially, another 253 million tonnes should be added to our account. That's the difference between the greenhouse gases released in manufacturing the goods we export and those released in manufacturing the goods we import. The reason our figures look better than those of most other nations is that so much of our manufacturing industry has moved overseas. It is this which allows the government to meet its targets. If the stuff we buy is made in China, China gets the blame.