Professor: UK Companies Hiding CO2 Emissions with “Carbon Colonialism”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Human Geography Lecturer Dr. Laurie Parsons admitting UK companies are outsourcing emissions overseas to evade strict UK carbon targets.

Carbon colonialism must be challenged if we want to make climate progress

Laurie Parsons, Royal Holloway University of London

December 21, 2021 1.20pm GMT

Assessments of the UN climate conference COP26’s success have been mixed, but none have been entirely positive. Achieving the Paris agreement’s target of limiting global warming to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels is a goal described by UN secretary general António Guterres as “on life support”, whilst reports in the wake of the conference suggested that the world is on track for “disastrous levels” of global warming.

The response in some quarters has been to call for tough new targets, yet as the chief executive of the UK’s Climate Change Committee noted, this is likely to simply “widen the gap between ambition and delivery”.

But these targets will never be able to properly challenge the climate crisis without first tackling the implicit “carbon colonialism” that underpins the UK’s approach to climate change. Here, carbon is measured according to a two-tier system: rigorously within UK borders and far less carefully outside them.

This approach to the country’s carbon footprint makes little sense in the face of the worldwide problem of climate change. Around 22% of global carbon emissions are caused by producing goods, like clothes and electronics, that are actually consumed in a different country. The UK is a notable consumer – in fact, the third highest globally – of “imported emissions” like these. Nevertheless, climate targets set by the UK government focus on reducing emissions from within the country. 

Currently, UK laws regulating emissions only apply to domestically produced products, whilst imported products are subject to voluntary standards – meaning the companies that make them don’t have to accurately report their emissions. This encourages “outsourcing” of emissions overseas. The dirtiest and most carbon intensive industries, such as fast fashion and construction, are transplanted to developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/amp/carbon-colonialism-must-be-challenged-if-we-want-to-make-climate-progress-173553

People who live in well regulated rich countries rarely appreciate how corrupt and malleable some places are. A particularly corrupt Caribbean nation I once visited, if you had a problem with your hotel bill, you gave the local police $20, and they would pressure the proprietor. I didn’t do this, but I watched someone who did – I thought he had been arrested, but he explained afterwards.

From what friends have said, countries where you can buy the local police and government officials far outnumber countries where officials take laws and regulations seriously. And its not necessarily because the people involved want to be corrupt; in places where the lowest tiers of state employees are paid a pittance which barely covers their food, let alone other living expenses, corruption is a matter of survival.

So companies wielding millions of dollars have no problem obtaining whatever fake paperwork they want – and a big tipoff and delaying tactics if any international inspectors show up.

Dr. Laurie Parsons believes that stricter enforcement will address the problem, but is such enforcement really possible? Global supply chains are riddled with far more serious problems than climate change, like Chinese slave labour. Vigorous enforcement efforts have to date failed to have any serious impact on this foul practice.

So I think it is fair to say, strict climate targets do nothing to reduce supply chain CO2 emissions, and no future enforcement is likely to change this situation. All climate targets do is give a competitive advantage to the corrupt, and drive manufacturing jobs away from countries which genuinely attempt to enforce the rules.

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Vuk
December 22, 2021 2:11 am

Why not throw away your mobile phone, your laptop, lot of your clothing, your solar panels, and many other things you purchased in recent months and years, and so denounce this CO2 neocolonialism .

Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
December 22, 2021 5:41 am

on the other hand:
Brussels needs to take a €12bn yearly slice of the EU’s emissions trading plan …..
The deal demands the biggest multinationals to pay a lot more tax in which they really do business enterprise, and the commission estimates it will produce revenues for the EU price range of among €2.5bn and €4bn a year.”
https://www.ft.com/content/f2bd44dc-085c-49e4-8a23-86965f1f45c1

Ron Long
December 22, 2021 2:35 am

Eric, one useful identity for a corrupt country is when more of the population wants to participate in it than wants to stop it. Carbon Colonialism? The CAGW crowd is starting to spiral downward out of control. How about working on real problems, like Chinese slave labor, Russian aggression, and phony Build Back Better programs.

Mac
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 22, 2021 4:28 am

The corruption of local officials: I saw this frequently traveling in Ukraine and Russia and also in Hungary. One time traveling from Dnepropetrovsk to Karkov we were stopped three times by police standing at known roadside areas demanding to see drivers licenses and particularly vehicle insurance. People in Ukraine very rarely had insurance. The answer to continuing on our way was bribes. That particular trip cost approx $50. The reason is that the traffic police were paid very little.

Marc
Reply to  Mac
December 23, 2021 4:31 pm

I spent a week in Karkov a few years ago. On several occasions I watched the police pull people over and then watched the driver hand money to the police so they get back on their way. Same thing happens every day in Hanoi where I live part of the year. I hate to use the word systemic- but corruption is deeply imbedded in the majority of countries in the world.

Scissor
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 22, 2021 4:44 am

Our corruption is greatly above bribery. It’s codified into law. Lobbyists just make campaign “donations” to legislators.

Ron Long
Reply to  Scissor
December 22, 2021 5:45 am

Ouch! Scissor has cut close to a new age variation of corruption.

bonbon
Reply to  Scissor
December 22, 2021 6:44 am

Exactly, beyond legendary – look for example at the FED. See how many chiefs were caught enriching (pilfering the greasy till), it has caused massive inflation – see the WSJ revelations by former FED governor Warsh

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fed-is-the-main-inflation-culprit-economic-upheaval-debt-wages-federal-reserve-powell-11639322957?mod=e2two

, gouging people already under lock-down, and blaming it on supply and demand.

For someone divert from this is willful negligence.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Scissor
December 22, 2021 8:45 am

Politician’s “charitable foundations” are the accepted method of bribing politicians today. Give money today…years later the politician resumes his position as head of the foundation, but can pay all travel and living expenses tax free…..

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/money-began-to-rain-on-trudeau-foundation-once-justin-took-over-liberals-analysis-shows

Ron Long
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 22, 2021 5:49 am

Eric, I have advanced projects in several corrupt cultures. My view of corruption is this: some people are honest all the time, some people are dishonest and corrupt all the time, and some people can be placed into a situation where they recognize they need to be honest for this situation. The advantages of stock options are particularly useful, do an honest job and yours pays out.

dk_
December 22, 2021 2:55 am

Alt Headline: UK Schools and Universities, “renewable” energy suppliers hiding their substantial carbon footprints and fossil fuel dependencies with Marxist rhetoric.

Rusty
December 22, 2021 3:39 am

Simples, just put a big carbon tax on imports. /joke But that’s the way the lunatic greens and government think.

LdB
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 22, 2021 5:39 pm

ROFL go the UK such an advanced nation response which only hurts the poor in the UK 🙂

Uncle Mort
December 22, 2021 3:49 am

“All climate targets do is give a competitive advantage to the corrupt, and drive manufacturing jobs away from countries which genuinely attempt to enforce the rules.”

That’s a feature, not a bug.

Richard S Courtney
December 22, 2021 4:01 am

Eric Worrall,

You quote Laurie Parsons as saying,

So I think it is fair to say, strict climate targets do nothing to reduce supply chain CO2 emissions, and no future enforcement is likely to change this situation. All climate targets do is give a competitive advantage to the corrupt, and drive manufacturing jobs away from countries which genuinely attempt to enforce the rules.

He is a bit late. It is a matter of record that I have been saying that in public and in print since 1980 (i.e. for more than four decades).

Richard

Joseph Zorzin
December 22, 2021 4:13 am

Off topic, but here’s an essay by our beloved Mickey Mann in the Bah-stun Globe.

Entitled: “Global destruction isn’t funny, but when it comes to the climate crisis, it might have to be”
subtitled: “Science isn’t finished until it’s successfully communicated. ‘Don’t Look Up’ succeeds not because it’s funny and entertaining, but because it’s serious sociopolitical commentary posing as comedy.”
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/12/21/opinion/global-destruction-isnt-funny-when-it-comes-climate-crisis-it-might-have-be/

As a scientist devoted to communicating the dangerous impacts of climate change, I don’t want Adam McKay’s new film, “Don’t Look Up,” to one day be remembered as prescient and accurate. It paints a world imperiled not by a comet but by political inaction and societal indifference to imminent disaster. Still, it’s impossible to read the headlines — from a massive, deadly winter tornado outbreak to new data suggesting that Antarctica’s “doomsday glacier” is one step closer to collapse — and not worry that we are headed in that direction in the absence of concerted global action on climate.

[snip—give an excerpt next time-mod]

Gregory Woods
December 22, 2021 4:17 am

On the other hand, they could just admit that CO2 is a beneficial ghg and that all this gloom and doom is useless…

H.R.
Reply to  Gregory Woods
December 22, 2021 6:04 am

What?!? That’s crazy talk! Never give up the con.

Just think of all their starving children if they don’t get their grants and bribes. Expensive schools and tropical island holidays? Soon, their children just won’t know what they are.

grrrrrr… SPIT!
[Where’s that stink eye emoji when you need it?]

Jules Guidry
Reply to  Gregory Woods
December 22, 2021 6:24 am

Thank you. When I first heard of the CO2 condemnation from the AGW, or whatever they call themselves now, I was totally baffled. Then came to realize that it was a scheme to gain more power over the masses via outrageous taxes(bribes) to continue living in a modern society. Upon further observation, I saw the scam was being perpetrated by the folks who had the power to enforce the nonsense. It is slowly being uncovered and even being denounced by the ignorant(according to the “scientists”) for the scam it truly is. About time.
As I learned in grade school, many decades ago, CO2 is beneficial to the planet and all life upon it. Climate scientists give a bad name to scientists via the description of CO2 as harmful. Then, there is Fauxi, and his continued rants re: the kung flu. Okay, that’s enough. I feel a rant coming on.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
December 22, 2021 4:38 am

So I think it is fair to say, strict climate targets do nothing to reduce supply chain CO2 emissions, and no future enforcement is likely to change this situation. All climate targets do is give a competitive advantage to the corrupt, and drive manufacturing jobs away from countries which genuinely attempt to enforce the rules.

As do high taxes, high labor costs, and restrictive regulations. Competent observers have been saying this for years. Imposing carbon reduction targets simply accelerates industrial outsourcing already underway for the other reasons.

As long as there is a demand for steel it will be made somewhere, and the world is not going to stop making it. Ditto concrete, aluminum, glass and all the other materials essential to maintain industrial civilization. Unless different processes are developed and deployed all these manufacturing activities require fossil fuels and emit CO2.

Neither is the world going to stop using ammonia-based fertilizers or synthetics.

Surely this is obvious to everyone?

RickWill
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 22, 2021 2:23 pm

Its been imminent for 30 years. It will go on being imminent until enough people understand how the energy balance on Earth is achieved. And that has ZERO to do with so-called “greenhouse gasses”

fretslider
December 22, 2021 5:22 am

The Chinese get all the work and the contracts, they don’t go in for the self-flagellation.

Human geographers are not that bright

Jules Guidry
Reply to  fretslider
December 22, 2021 6:27 am

Must be close akin to the degrees in the education fields, gender studies, etc.

fretslider
Reply to  Jules Guidry
December 22, 2021 7:44 am

Their big thing is Agenda 21

Kalsel3294(@kalsel3294)
December 22, 2021 5:42 am

Anyone who claims carbon credits in one country and sell the to someone in a foreign country is effectively participating in “carbon colonialism”. Australian farmers are now able to claim carbon credits for sequestering carbon in their soil and sell them to overseas corporations who can then claim against their emissions. This is problematic in a number of ways.
Firstly, once sold overseas, Australia will not be able to include those carbon credits in their national accounting for reduction in emissions. I am surprised that the government allows it.
Secondly if circumstances change that result in a loss of carbon from the farmers soil he will then have to buy back carbon credits to offset the loss, and if he buys them from overseas, does that then increase Australia’s emissions? If he buys them from another Australian farmer then there may be no loss in the Australian national accounting, but no gain either. Given Australia’s size, with moving areas of droughts and above average seasons, there will be areas where conditions may allow carbon to be sequestered in the soil at times, but other times will cause a loss of carbon from the soil.
It seems to me to be a scheme ripe for abuse.

Jules Guidry
Reply to  Kalsel3294
December 22, 2021 6:30 am

Follow the money. Who stands to make a buck off of the whole scam? Mostly, the world’s politicians, of all sorts.

Bruce Cobb
December 22, 2021 5:43 am

Yes. It’s all about instilling Carbon Guilt. Part and parcel to the Carbon Religion.

Jules Guidry
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 22, 2021 6:40 am

Yep. Just like all other religions, gotta have that guilt to fire up the masses. And empty their pockets…how else they gonna do it? With money comes the power to control the masses. Punctum.

decnine
December 22, 2021 6:47 am

Dr Parsons seems to have learned a lesson from Economics 101. Incentives matter.

December 22, 2021 7:45 am

I hope this isn’t a surprise to anyone. This is also what happened during the actual environmental movement. Manufactures who’s processes caused pollution, just moved to Asia.

Felix
December 22, 2021 8:00 am

This kind of corruption, both low level hotel bills and high level emissions, is the market equivalent of damming rivers; you can distort markets just as you can distort rivers, but markets and gravity always reconfigure to maintain reality. Government actors remind me of Pharaoh in the robe and sandal movies: “so let it be written, so let it be done”, as if passing a law or issuing an edict is the end of the matter. So-called “leaders” have to check six periodically to make sure they still have followers.

michael hart
December 22, 2021 8:32 am

“Human Geography Lecturer Dr. Laurie Parsons admitting UK companies are outsourcing emissions overseas to evade strict UK carbon targets.”

Well, Duhhhhh…
Chewy, take the professor out back and plug him into the hyperdrive.

Some time ago UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s carefully amended their virtuous proclamations on intended CO2 emissions reductions with the phrase “… in our own operations”.

Someone, somewhere, in the company finally realised “Hey, this is impossible. Let’s push the responsibility onto someone else.” And with one bound, they were free.

n.n
December 22, 2021 11:07 am

Shared responsibility with “benefits”.

Last edited 1 month ago by n.n
Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 22, 2021 12:17 pm

Just what is Human Geography? Is it Anatomy by another name?

n.n
December 22, 2021 12:25 pm

Hiding selective-child, or one-child delegated, with immigration reform.

Andrew Wilkins
December 22, 2021 1:27 pm

“All climate targets do is give a competitive advantage to the corrupt, and drive manufacturing jobs away from countries which genuinely attempt to enforce the rules.”

This, Eric. 100% this. In a nutshell.
Thank you.

Patrick MJD
December 22, 2021 3:18 pm

This is what “net zero” (Carbon emissions) is all about.

observa
December 22, 2021 8:24 pm

its not necessarily because the people involved want to be corrupt; in places where the lowest tiers of state employees are paid a pittance which barely covers their food, let alone other living expenses, corruption is a matter of survival.

Yes we also have the problem with trusting settled science and the scientists involved-
Harvard prof faces jail over $50k-a-month salary from Wuhan university (msn.com)
It’s why we want to see the data and their methods like Ike warned us about.

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