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Is Globalization Good Or Bad For The Environment?

2086 words - 9 pages

Is Globalisation Good or Bad for the Environment?
Globalisation is a complex combination of economic, cultural, and political processes that function to increase the interconnectedness of life in the contemporary world (Pacione, 2009). The question whether globalisation is good or bad for the environment is a very broad topic, in which I shall refine by providing an overview of certain interrelated economic, social and environmental aspects. There are opposing viewpoints in regards to the effects that globalisation has upon the environment. These viewpoints will be examined in relation to the Environmental Kuznets Curve. In this essay I shall then focus on what I believe are the negative ...view middle of the document...

The convectional EKC suggests that gross product per capita has a unimodal relationship with pollution intensities, indicated by pollution emissions per unit of gross product (GP) (World Bank, 1992). Therefore, at low levels of GP per capita, pollution intensities to begin with increase with economic growth (A) and then peak (B) which leads to a decrease with further growth as income per capita becomes high (C) (Tisdell, 2001). This interpretation suggests that economic growth is the key to solving environmental problems. Furthermore, as economic globalisation creates a stimulus for economic growth, it shall therefore have a positive impact on the environment, but only if economic growth is substantial enough (Tisdell, 2001). The unimodal nature of the EKC implies that increasing income above the curves peak will systematically reduce pollution levels. This interpretation considers the possibility that globalisation is good for the environment, which cannot be confirmed or falsified.

However, caution must be taken when hypothesizing on the convectional EKC as certain pollutants such as CO2 do not fit the EKC relationship in a communicative way. The EKC assumes that pollution is not cumulative and its impacts are reversible (Arrow et al, 1995). Yet some pollutants are cumulative due to their distinguishing long lives, for example CO2 and some chlorofluorocarbons (Tisdell, 2001). The concept that pollution intensity will decrease with rising GP per capita is based on the assumption that economic globalisation will lead to economic efficiency. This concept is based on the foundations that input material per unit of output will result in lower wastages, therefore, reducing pollution emissions in relation to output (Tisdell, 2001).
Sustainable development aims at ensuring that the health and well-being of future generations and the environment are equal or greater than present indicators (Tietenbery, 1988). However, opposing views exist on how best to achieve this goal, in relation to the regulation of natural resource use. Some economists suggest weak restrictions on the use of natural resources is a adequate requirement for sustainable development, while opposing economists suggest strong restrictions of natural resource use must be implemented (Turner et al, 1994). Traditionally economists have implied that the appreciate way to achieve sustainable development is by accumulating man-made capital. “This approach assumes that man-made capital can continue to be substituted for natural capital (natural resource stock) without any adverse consequences for economic production” (Tisdel, 2001, p 190). In contrast, economists favouring strong restrictions for sustainable development dispute that the continued conversion of natural resources to man-made capital will eventually reduce sustainable development as man-made capital is not an equal substitute for natural resource capital (Tisdell, 2001). They...

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