WASHINGTON, January 22. 2014 – A new report from the United Nations claim that as a result of increased international trade, rich countries are “outsourcing” carbon dioxide emissions to poor countries. This is driving global warming, the report argues.
“A growing share of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in developing countries is released in the production of goods and services exported, notably from upper-middle-income countries to high-income countries. A growing share of global emissions is released in the manufacture of products that are traded across international borders.”
According the to report, most of these emissions come from coal plants in China and other manufacturing countries that are producing electronic devices like “smartphones, cheap clothes and other goods.” These products are typically then bought and consumed in the United States and Europe.
The U.N. continues to discourage free trade by lamenting carbon dioxide emissions. But in fact free trade benefits both consuming and manufacturing countries.
George Mason University economist Donald Boudreaux writes, “Free trade increases prosperity for Americans — and the citizens of all participating nations — by allowing consumers to buy more, better-quality products at lower costs. It drives economic growth, enhanced efficiency, increased innovation, and the greater fairness that accompanies a rules-based system. These benefits increase as overall trade — exports and imports — increases.”
Furthermore, manufacturing raised the living standards in countries with developing economies like China. Economic analysts at consulting company McKinsey & Company say, “China’s emergence as a manufacturing powerhouse has been astonishing … China not only overtook the United States in 2011 to become the world’s largest producer of manufactured goods but also used its huge manufacturing engine to boost living standards by doubling the country’s GDP per capita over the last decade.”
The U.N. recommends transitioning away from fossil fuels such as coal.
But living standards in poor countries have increased due to coal. Chief Executive of World Coal Association (WCA), Milton Catelin, says, “No other poverty alleviation strategy in modern history has been more effective than the one implemented by China and driven by an economy fuelled at over 70 percent by coal.” The WCA reports, “Coal has been vital to global development – almost half of this century’s incremental energy has come from coal alone. Virtually all of the world’s poverty reduction between 1981 and 2008 took place in coal-fuelled China.”
The U.N. report also points out that carbon dioxide emissions may cause global warming. China has doubled their yearly carbon emissions since 2000 — a sizable percentage of such emissions are from manufacturing goods for consumption in the U.S. and Europe. Given this fact, many U.N. diplomats are trying to force consuming countries to pay poor countries for the emissions. This means taxpayers in the U.S. would be made to fork over more cash to the U.N. for climate change in the form of “loss and damage” payments.
The Daily Caller reports, “The issue ‘loss and damage’ will be revisited in 2016 … Rich countries feared that creating a new UN mechanism for the damages of global warming would saddle them with new financial obligations — which would be unpopular in a time of slow economic growth, high unemployment and growing government debt … China and other poor countries have demanded $70 billion a year in climate aid by 2016.”
The U.N. report makes valid points about the possible future of the environment, but it is an unreliable guide to action. Like any other political organization, the U.N. has an agenda of its own.