The FT editorial board sees the spread of the coronavirus as amounting to an experiment in deglobalisation: barriers are being put up not to halt trade and migration flows but to stop the spread of infection. Their comment:
“The economic effects, however, are similar: snarled-up supply chains, lower business confidence and less international trade”.
Detail about the impact of the virus on the food, goods, services and tourism sectors is given here.
For economic, environmental and social reasons many voices advocate resilient largely self-provisioning economies: regional production for regional consumption
Here local’ is defined as regional, because no immediate neighbourhood would have the land and all the skills needed.
As The Times points out, many of the clothes, toys and technology in our shops are brought here from the other side of the world in huge container ships. We add that much of our imported food is flown in.
Fossil fuel-burning shipping and (we add) aviation industries are each estimated to account for over 2% of carbon dioxide emissions contributing to global warming, equivalent to the total emissions of Germany, the world’s fourth biggest economy.
Lamiat Sabin reported Jeremy Corbyn’s concern, expressed at Labour’s international social forum in London, about the fact that – currently – only greenhouse gases generated by goods and services produced within the country are measured and are reducing.
Statistics ignore the emissions generated from imported goods – which he says have “barely changed” in 20 years, so Britain is “offshoring” its emissions to the rest of the world.
China, the US, EU nations, India and Russia are listed as the five top places with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, but some of those emissions are caused by manufacturing and exporting goods, food, oil and gas to us.
Mr Corbyn said: “That isn’t tackling global emissions — it is passing the buck to poorer countries. It’s time we were honest about our contribution to the climate crisis, which is even greater than we think”.
He explained that when we measure the emissions from goods produced in Britain but not those produced overseas, it puts industry here, especially energy-intensive industries like steel, at a disadvantage.
Suggestions received include:
- change the fuels used,
- adopt greener methods of production in other countries,
- reduce the carbon content of the goods we import,
- Mayer Hillman, who foresaw the impending crisis many years ago,: “live more locally”,
- change to local production for local needs.
A gradual and thoughtful transition to local/regional production of food and goods – as part of a green industrial revolution – is advocated here. It would increase good employment opportunities, reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.
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