Toward Democratic Eco-socialism
as the Next World System

18. Sustainable Trade

Book cover: Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know by Joseph Romm

Over the past two centuries, global production has resulted in a tremendous cross-border trade of goods and services. While increased international trade has been enhanced by free trade agreements and lower transport costs, it relies heavily upon oil and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in moving goods around the world by ship or airplane, as well as trucks and trains. Furthermore, while developing countries, in particular China, are often criticized for their increasing greenhouse gas emissions, an appreciable amount of this is due to the fact that developed countries are importing cheap resources and manufactured goods from developing countries. International aviation and marine fuels are exempt from international taxation schemes.

Book cover: The Anthropology of Climate Change by Hans A. Baer and Merrill Singer

The global food system has undergone a tremendous rise in 'food miles'—a measurement of the distance that sustenance travels from the site of production to the site of consumption. Vandana Shiva [2008] in Soil Not Oil maintains that humanity can reduce food miles by eating diverse, local, and fresh foods, rather than increasing greenhouse gas emissions through the spread of corporate industrial farming, nonlocal supplies, and processed and packaged food. There is the need for the greening of shipping, which would rely upon solar and hydrogen energy-powered ships, sailing ships, and kite sails. Also given that large quantities of products are now shipped by airplane and truck, there is a strong need to revisit railroads and waterways as less energy-intensive modes of shipping.

Copyright © 2016

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