The Global North’s Energy and Emission Problems: A Call for Collaborative Solutions

The Global North’s Energy and Emission Problems: A Call for Collaborative Solutions

The recent study revealed that manufacturing nations in the Global North are contributing to energy and emission problems by outsourcing energy-intensive industrial processes to countries in the Global South. This practice, driven by advantages in capital and technology, results in a ‘false decoupling’ of energy consumption from economic growth. While the Global North benefits from energy-rich countries primarily exporting energy resources, the Global South engages in energy-intensive export production, leading to greater carbon emissions and environmental damage per unit of output.

The Need for Collaboration

The study emphasizes the need for collaboration between countries in the Global North and Global South to address the energy and emission problems associated with international trade. Policymakers are urged to consider the equity of energy distribution in global trade agreements and address the question of which countries benefit from offshoring unsustainable production processes. By fostering equity, sustainability, and shared responsibility in the global economic landscape, nations can work together to create a more environmentally conscious future.

Global South’s Role in Energy Consumption

It is highlighted that the Global South is not only a source of increasing global energy consumption but also a central player in global embodied energy transfers. These transfers represent the energy consumption ‘baked into’ manufactured products that are exported worldwide. To reduce global embodied energy transfer, it is crucial for Global South nations to advance their technological capabilities and engage in regional collaboration. Furthermore, companies and governments in the Global North are called upon to provide technical support to enhance the efficiency of industrial processes in the Global South.

In order to address the challenges posed by rising energy consumption and achieve a greener, more sustainable world, collaborative efforts are essential. The study emphasizes the importance of improving energy efficiency through technological advancements and regional cooperation. By collectively working towards enhancing energy efficiency, nations can mitigate potential inefficiencies that contribute to environmental degradation and hasten climate change.

Using the latest multi-regional input-output database (GTAP 11), researchers analyzed the spatial pattern and driving forces of change for energy embodied in international trade between developed and developing countries from 2000 to 2019. The findings indicate that while North-North trade predominates global embodied energy transfers, the gap between the Global South and Global North in terms of embodied energy transfers remains significant.

The study sheds light on the energy and emission problems stemming from the outsourcing of energy-intensive industrial processes from the Global North to the Global South. It calls for collaborative efforts between nations to address these issues, improve energy efficiency, and work towards a more sustainable future. By recognizing the role of both Global North and Global South in global energy consumption, policymakers, companies, and governments can collectively strive towards a greener and more environmentally conscious world.


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