Reversed local weather development important of globalization | Hellenic transport messages worldwide
History has proven that globalization is an irreversible trend. The technological revolution is fundamentally changing the socio-economic development of the world and binding communities into a “global village”. However, while globalization has brought tremendous economic benefits to the world through better distribution of production factors such as technology and capital, the ever-worsening climate crisis requires all countries to devise new solutions to contain the rise in temperature and ensure better environmental policies.
Although global energy consumption fell 4 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in lower CO2 emissions, the trend of rising CO2 emissions remains unchanged.
Global warming is having a huge impact worldwide. Extreme weather events are increasingly affecting human society. The importance of a joint response to climate change and natural disasters was recognized long ago, as evidenced by the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016. But concerted efforts to combat climate change have suffered major setbacks in recent years due to the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and the resulting political and economic turmoil. It is high time all countries united again to fight climate change.
The globalization of trade has caused countries to open their doors wider and take full advantage of their comparative advantages for greater economic benefit. It has also facilitated the flow and distribution of factors of production such as technology, capital and information. Developed countries with their huge multinationals occupy the middle and upper end of the global value chain, while developing countries are mostly at the lower end of manufacturing, assembly and processing. Therefore, the developed countries benefit the most and play a dominant role in world trade.
Developing countries, because of their lower status in the global industrial chain, are forced to bear the pressure to reduce the emissions transferred from the industrialized countries. Although the population in developed countries is comparatively small, they emit a third of all CO2 emissions.
Different groups may disagree on globalization, but they should agree that the relationship between globalization and the fight against climate change should be mutually beneficial.
Climate change and extreme weather events are an existential threat to everyone. Every country has to make its contribution to the global fight against climate change.
All countries should use globalization to support the global response to climate change. Global trade has brought people together as an inseparable whole and helped create the consensus of a community with a common future for humanity. The globalization of trade provides a platform for the dissemination and exchange of know-how that can promote research and innovation in countries in the areas of energy saving and emission reduction.
Developed nations should take the lead in the research and diffusion of new technologies, and developing countries should proactively integrate themselves into world trade and seek green development while at the same time seeking economic growth.
Therefore, tackling climate change and achieving green development requires more openness and cooperation, not less.
The CO2 emissions and economic activities of all countries contribute to climate change and CO2 emissions are not bound by borders. In recent years, some countries have suffered enormous losses from sea level rise and extreme weather events from climate change. International organizations such as the United Nations have taken steps to strengthen global cooperation in the fight against climate change. However, a recent UN report shows the huge gap between what has been achieved and what has yet to be achieved.
Due to protectionism and the disparity in economic development, there is a notable gap in the implementation of emission reductions through multilateral cooperation. In addition, developing countries, in the pursuit of rapid urbanization, are obliged to reconcile environmental protection and economic growth. Therefore, developed nations should help developing countries grow in a sustainable way.
The world economy has grown rapidly in recent decades thanks to the deeper international division of labor. But over the same period protectionism has increased while the danger of anti-globalization increases. These hinder global cooperation in the fight against climate change and China’s transition to green economic growth. By striving for carbon neutrality before 2060 and a Green Belt and Road initiative, China will make a greater contribution to the global response to climate change.
Just as the globalization of trade optimizes the allocation of resources worldwide and increases the benefits for all those involved through the division of labor, the global response to climate change optimizes the allocation of clean resources worldwide. Despite China’s efforts to promote clean energy in recent years, clean energy consumption accounts for only 25 percent of total energy consumption. If the current system of international division of labor is compromised, the energy consumption and structure of different countries will change and could lead to greater dependence on domestic resources. In this case, international dialogue and cooperation on climate change will decrease, while climate change as a global issue should be addressed by all members of the international community.
Although different countries and regions have their own economic and political interests, global cooperation and coordination is crucial in the fight against climate change. In recent years conflicts within the developed world have increased, which has led to a rising anti-globalization sentiment. The anti-globalization trend in retail has already damaged the international system of division of labor and hampered global dialogue and coordination in response to climate change.
Nevertheless, the globalization of climate protection is an inevitable trend and lays the foundation for international dialogue and cooperation. As an important participant in world trade and promoter of the globalization of trade, China should advocate global cooperation in combating climate change and promote coordinated climate protection measures through the globalization of trade.
The author is the director of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank run by China Daily. Views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
Source: China Daily