Essay submitted as assessment for POL2001: Politics and International Business 

Can economic and political pursuits of corporations and governments be harmonious with citizens’ concerns for the health of our planet? Perhaps famed author Aldous Huxley articulated the sentiment best regarding globalisation’s capacity to serve the environment, in his penned letter to brother Julian (then Director General of UNESCO and co-founder of the World Conservation Union):

I come to feel more and more that no systems of morals is adequate that does not include within the sphere of moral relationships, not only other human beings, but animals, plants and even things… If we don’t do something about it pretty soon we shall find that, even if we escape atomic warfare, we shall destroy our civilization by destroying the cosmic capital on which we live. Our relationship with earth is not that of mutual beneficial symbiosis; we have become the kind of parasite that kills its host, even at risk of killing itself. (Huxley 1948, cited in Bosselmann 2008, p. 2)

Swelling from $3.5 trillion in 1990 to $18.9 trillion in 2014 (United Nations 2015a, p. 2), global trade is booming. Yet, despite growing interconnectedness, the world is seemingly suffering policy paralysis with heated disagreements over best methods to combat globalisation’s environmental harm. Have any been effective? The consensus is not considerably – at least not in significant, provable or measureable terms. However, in considering globalisation’s permanence, is it globalisation itself that threatens the environment, or is it only through its channels that the world can unite to fend for our planet’s health?

This essay will thus analyse arguments positing globalisation threatens the environment, and its counter-arguments. Foci supporting arguments include: globalisation causes environmental exploitation including the pollution haven hypothesis; globalisation nurtures unsustainable consumerist drives and food-diets, and lastly, the implicit structure of sovereign states causes global sustainability efforts succumbing to policy paralysis.

The counter-argument claims globalisation is the only solution to halting future deterioration of the planet, through mechanisms such as innovation through competition, progressive weaning off fossil fuels and harmful substances, and lastly, through coordinated sustainability efforts.

Prudently, we first examine the globe’s health, in correlation with globalisation’s evolution. Expansionary ideologies have existed for many centuries (i.e. imperialist Europe and the Ottoman Empire); however, it was industrialisation that catapulted the world into unprecedented expansion, trade, and immigration across sovereign borders. The 1900s witnessed global GDP grow 23-fold and material extractions grow by a factor of eight – but the population only quadruple (UN 2015c). At current trends, material extraction will increase annually by 140 billion tons until 2050 (UN 2015c) – the same time when the global population will reach 10 billion people (IUCN 2016). Accordingly, waste outputs are experiencing thunderous growth; in 1992, each urban resident produced 0.64kg of municipal solid waste. Today it is 1.2kg, and by 2025, 1.42kg – outpacing the rate of urbanization itself (Hoornweg & Bhada-Tata 2012).

To date, humankinds’ growth and globalisation has contributed to the following manifesto: the degradation of 2 million hectares since the 50s (Elliott 2004), the loss of 17% of the Amazon Rainforest (WWF 2017), and 60% degradation of the Earth’s ecosystems (United Nations 2015b, p. 1) over the last 50 years, 26 countries achieving official water scarce designation (with an additional 54 facing water shortages)(Elliott 2004), a 40% rise in global carbon emissions since 1990 (United Nations 2015b, p. 1), a 52% decline in wildlife populations in the last 40 years (100-1000 times higher than the natural rate (WWF 2017)), up to 50 species becoming extinct every day (Elliott 2004) – food systems as the second largest driver of such (International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN] 2016), 30% of fish stocks depleted or overexploited (Greenpeace 2017b), thousands of invasive pests and weeds infiltrating sovereign borders through movement of people and goods – threatening biodiversity (including 3000 weeds and 650 species of land-based animals into Australia) (New South Wale Environmental Protection Agency 2009), assignment of threatened-status to 33% of reef-building corals (IUCN 2015), 8 million tons of plastic entering the ocean each year (80% of all marine debris)(ICUN 2017), degradation of 25-35% of dry lands (an estimated 20 million hectares of fertile land degraded annually) (IUCN 2017), an increase of 0.13°C to the average global sea surface temperature per decade for the past century (IUCN 2017), a foot rise in sea levels, above-normal heat for 627 continuous months with CO2 surpassing the danger-point of 410pmm (not seen for a millennium)(Khan 2017), and an annual production of 300-500 million tons of hazardous waste (95% produced by developed nations) – including pesticide sludge, chemical wastes, uranium mining waste, and incinerator ash (Elliott 2004, p. 61).

The final diagnosis of earth’s health… not favourable!

Two cardinal foci have driven global economic trade: meeting consumerist demands, and securing food and energy supply. Rampant consumerism was traditionally detained to the developed nations – the world’s richest 20% accounting for 86% of the globe’s total private consumption and 58% energy expenditure, contrasting with the poorest 20% consuming only 5% of total resources (Elliott 2004, p. 3). Indeed, if China mirrored US levels of car ownership, the globe would require 850 million additional cars and double the oil output – with the associated CO2 out-polluting the entire world’s transport industry (Kenworthy, Murray-Leach & Townsend 2006, pp. 371-372).

However, a chasm is occurring with non-OECD countries trumping the OECD’s energy consumption for the first time in 2007, with global energy demands predicted to increase by 47% from 2012-40. Non-OECD countries will contribute 71% (50% of this by China (the title-holder of the world’s largest energy market for 16 consecutive years (BP 2017c) and India respectively) (U.S. Department of Energy 2016; BP 2017). Furthermore, non-OECD countries are using cheap coal to satiate mounting energy requirements in meeting economic and poverty reduction goals set by the UN (World Energy Council 2016b).

Inevitably, consumerism has enormous environmental impacts. For example, 42,534 kilotons of plastic enter the ocean annually from synthetic textiles (IUCN 2017), and unsustainable commercial logging (already surpassing the point of forests being able to regenerate) is responsible for 10-25% of annual forest loss (Elliott 2004, pp. 47-48). Furthermore, at current consumption rates, we will have exhausted 170% of earth’s bio-capacity by 2040 (United Nations 2015b). Unavoidably, consumerism’s lure is spreading to developing nations, as globalisation affords them economic growth (Robertson & Swinton 2005).

Globalisation has also drastically altered the food system. An input of 10 calories is required for every calorie of consumable food produced by the modern agricultural system (Cato 2009). The system occupies 40% of earth’s land surface, causes one-third of all soil degradation, over 70% of fresh-water withdrawal, and over 20-35% of GHG emissions. Yet, globally, 800 million people are undernourished whilst 30% of all food produced is lost or wasted in the process (IUCN 2016, p. 7; Clark & Tilman 2017; Robertson & Swinton 2005). Former forestland is cleared in poorer nations, such as in Latin America and Thailand, to grow crops like soybeans and cassava – yet they’re not for human consumption (Elliott 2004). To the contrary, they’re shipped overseas as 34% of all global crops become animal feed – and only 12% of those calories eventually consumed by humans (Cassify, West, Gerber & Foley 2013).

As global incomes rise, so do appetites for meat-based diets – global meat demand doubling from 1980-2004 (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations [FAO] n.d.). Beef, goat and lamb require 20-100 times more energy than plants – milk, eggs, pork, poultry and seafood 2-25 times (Clark & Tilman 2017). Feeding nine billion people a meat-based diet requires double the current cultivated cropland, yet worldwide meat and dairy demands are expected to rise by 67% and 57% respectively by 2030 (Cassify et al. 2013).

Adding to this grossly inefficient system, global trade of food is big business with consequentially big pollution externalities. For a micro-synopsis, the UK from 1992 to 2002 increased food imports by 26% and more than doubled their food payment deficit to 9.8 billion pounds (Cato 2009, p. 62) – its food transportation system representing approximately 34% of UK’s total food and drinks industry (Cato 2009, p. 62). Worldwide, transportation accounts for 25-27% of all energy use, 63% of oil consumption, and 14% of all GHG emissions (with aviation’s GHG emissions increasing 865-fold between 1990-2004 (Huwart & Loïc Verdier 2013)) (partly attributed to improved living standards and increased personal travel and freighted goods (U.S. Department of Energy 2016; World Energy Council 2016)). In examining environmental benefits to not embracing global food trade, a case study is China’s localization project in the 50s and 60s that encouraged local self-sufficiency for environmental protection, and for each village to produce their own iron. As Wolf describes, it resulted in “mass starvation” and “ruined environments” (2004, p. 196).

Moving forward, we turn focus to the argument globalisation causes environmental exploitation. For context, between 1986-99, commodity exports in least developed countries [LDCs] increased by 43%, but its value only by 26%. Moreover, the purchasing power associated with these exports only increased by 3% (Cato, 2009, p. 126). From 1990 to 2012, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to developing countries increased by 1921% – from 34,762 to 702,825 million dollars (Neequaye & Oladi 2015, p. 47). Finally, in 1960, the income gap between the world’s richest and poorest 20% was 30:1, widening to 74:1 by 1990 (United Nations Development Programme 1999, in Elliott 2004, p. 3).

These relationships provide two key insights – first, LDCs are working harder with less benefit – akin to chasing one’s own tail, at behest of developed countries, and secondly, “this results not only in growing poverty in the poorer, weaker countries but also more pressure on the environment, which they are forced to exploit to provide commodities to sell on international markets” (Cato 2009, p. 126). (Conversely, there are growing movements towards fair trade aiming to address injustices between the LDCs and developed; from 2005 to 2006, worldwide consumption of fair trade products totaled 1.1 billion pounds, a 42% increase in one year (Cato 2009, p. 128)).

Corporations are accused of exploiting the environment for their self-benefit. In some instances, regulations are ignored – exemplified by multinationals’ Nigerian oil extraction. From 1976-1996, there were 4647 oil spill incidents equating to 2.4 million barrels of oil. Despite gas flaring outlawed by Nigeria in 2005 as a violation of human rights, and contributor to acid rain (Elum, Mopipi & Henri-Ukoha 2016) – corporations continue (Shell 2015; Exxon Mobil Corporation 2017) to the volume of 8 billion cubic metres annually (The World Bank 2017).

In other instances, governments expose the environment to harm by corporations. For example, in 2017, the Brazilian government published a decree abolishing environmental protection to an area of 47,000 square kilometres (equivalent to the area of Switzerland), covering nine protected areas including rainforest, ecological reserves and indigenous lands, in making way for mineral mining (WWF 2017). Japan’s government, alongside Norway and Iceland, has notoriety for supporting whaling – all three purporting it is for ‘scientific’ purposes, instead of economic benefit (Elliott 2004).

Even when international legislation is enforced, corporations find a back door – for example, with the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), a proviso of the 1982 UN Convention of the Law of the Sea – giving sovereign states rights to 200 nautical miles of surrounding coastal waters (Elliott 2004). Transnational corporations fish over 208 species across 102 countries and territories (Österblom, Jouffray, Folke, Crona, Troell, Merrie, et al. 2015) – equating to 95 million tons valued at 84.9 billion USD through multilateral agreements, or circumvention such as hiring local companies (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2010).

The Pacific Island nations of the Kirabati people welcomed giant trawlers – such as the Albacora – catching more in three fishing expeditions than the Kirabati over twelve months (Greenpeace 2014). Annually, 250 tons of tuna are caught there (second only to Papua New Guinea) using purse-seine nets (by-catching juvenile tuna, sharks, rays and turtles from fish aggregating devices (FADs); trawled mothers’ stingray pups exhibit stress responses in their immune systems, are undersized, and are vulnerable to infection and disease (Guido 2017)). From 2012-2013, multinationals fished $2 billion USD of tuna, compared to Kirabati’s GDP of $169 million. Albacora’s 2012 revenues totaled 475 million euros, itself receiving millions of European taxpayer subsidies to fish in Kirabati – entirely legal from a deal with the EU.

Globally sourced seafood is a contentious issue; up to 16% of the total global catch is controlled by 13 companies, or 0.5% of the 2250 registered fishing and aquaculture companies (Österblom et al. 2015). Walmart, Mars, Whiskas, and Nestle all source their tuna from the Thai Union Group – the world’s largest canner with a 37% global share – that still uses FADs (Greenpeace 2016). Competitor Greenseas publicly committed to an “immediate” transition to FAD-free tuna (Heinz 2017, p. 1), but has evidently shown zero improvements since 2013 (Greenpeace 2017). For every kg of trawled prawns, there is between 2-3.4kg of by-catch – destroying marine ecosystems (OECD 2010). Even hundreds of miles from the Alaskan coast is non-immune to human reaping – 95% of Aleutian sea otters have disappeared since the 80s – attributed to whaling, and phyto-plankton depletion from global warming (Hargroves & Smith 2006, p. 40). Lastly, if China matched Japan’s seafood consumption, it would require 100 million tons – more than the world’s total catch (Ryan 2006).

Perhaps the most controversial argument of corporations’ exploiting the environment is the pollution haven hypothesis (PHP) – purporting corporations conduct operations in countries with laxer environmental regulations. Supported by the evidence of an ‘Environmental Kuznets Curve’ (EKC), PHP is both supported and rejected by the evidence. PHP was confirmed in Ghana from research on CO2 emissions over 1980-2012 (Solarin, Al-Mulali, Musah & Ozturk 2017). Neequaye and Oladi’s empirical data-analysis on FDI collected from 27 developing countries from 2002-08 similarly found proof of an EKC for CO2, but not for nitrous oxide – furthermore finding increased manufacturing levels resulted in declining emissions (2015, pp. 47-56). Managi, Hibiki and Tsurumi (2009) found trade caused detrimental emissions of CO2 and sulphur-dioxide in non-OECDs, yet trade improved the environment in OECDs. Another study on data from 99 countries between 1975-2012, examined the relationship between FDI, economic growth, CO2 emissions and energy consumption. EKC was confirmed with FDI linked to environmental degradation (Shahbaz, Nasreen, Abbas & Anis 2015). Again, PHP was confirmed with Chung’s examination of South Korean FDI outflow from 2000-2007 into 50 countries over 121 industries, establishing “polluting industries show a disproportionately higher tendency to establish their new foreign affiliates in environmentally laxer countries than non-polluting industries” (2014, p. 223). Findings remained robust even after excluding China to eliminate the “China effect’ (2014, p. 223), with 38% of foreign affiliates in Korea admitting, “rising environmental standards had negatively affected their traditional investment in Korea” (Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry, in Chung 2014, p. 225). In considering China, a panel data study from 2002-2009 on 287 Chinese cities again supported PHP – though peculiarly finding FDI from Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan proved less economically productive, but manifested greater environmental commitment – possibly from ethnic links (Wang & Chen 2014, pp. 81-90).

Conversely, Zheng, Khan and Liu’s cross-panel data study of 35 major Chinese cities showed inverse relationships of FDI to air pollution; cities with higher per-capita FDI flows had lower pollution (2010). Notably, they indicated this might reflect a shifting economy from producers to consumers. Lastly, Eskeland and Harrison’s empirical analysis comparing FDI and environmental impacts suggested “no robust association between the pattern of pollution abatement costs and investment” (2003, p. 9) – instead showing FDI was attracted to sectors with large domestic markets and less competition.

Lawrence Summers, former Chief Economist at the World Bank, self-vilified corporations when signing a memo: “I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage economy is impeccable and we should face up to that” (Summers 1991, cited in New York Times 1992). Whether it was meant in jest is still for debate. Evidently, the Guinea-Bissau government almost accepted 15 million tons of foreign toxic waste for $600 million US – four times its GDP and 35 times the value of its annual exports – before backtracking under international pressure from developing nations (Elliott 2004). Others claim waste is disguised and disposed of illegally, dumped in used mines or in landfill – sometimes seeping into soil and waterways causing cancer and birth defects (Elliott 2004).

With the private sector responsible for 70-85% of all global investments, the UN proclaims, “the integration of environmental costs and benefits into corporate decision-making has an enormous, but as yet unfulfilled, potential to promote sustainable development” (2015b, p.2). Evidently, global efforts towards ‘polluter-pays’ principles have been stifled, in spite of an estimated 8.9 million deaths in 2012 from polluted water, soil and air (UN 2015b, p. 3).

In Australia, 10 companies account for one-third of GHGs pollution (Om 2015), and in 2012, the UN calculated one-third of profits, or US$2.2 trillion, would be lost from the world’s top 3,000 corporations if forced to pay for environmental use and damage (Jowit 2010). Yet Germany, since 1992, has successfully managed a polluter-pays system in its industrialised Ruhr Valley, and similar systems exist in the Netherlands and France (Weidenbaum 2004). Netherland’s effluent charges resulted in an 86% reduction in cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc emissions from 1976-1994 (Weidenbaum 2004, p. 63).

When corporations do pay, it is often post-damage – for example, Exxon’s US$17+ billion bill from its 1991 oil spill (Hargroves & Smith 2017). Remarkably lenient considering England’s King Edward I imposed the death penalty for burning coal in 1306 (Brimblecombe 2012).

To mollify the pursuit of economic interests, a myriad of governments and states (considering half the world’s 100 biggest economic entities are companies (Hargroves & Smith 2006)), have debated on ideological fronts. In ratifying agreements left, right and centre – littered with catchphrases like protocols, action plans, programs, targets, and so forth – one could easily be forgiven for becoming befuddled among the medley. Furthermore, many argue the World Trade Organisation – by its very nature – is incompatible with sustainability (Hargroves & Smith 2006).

The world’s first and “largest environmental organisation” (Bosselmann 2008, p. 2), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), formed in 1948. Despite 1,300 member organisations from 163 countries (IUCN 2017), it acknowledges, “continued programmatic support” from only ten nation governments (IUCN 2016, p. 48). It claims, “actively contributing” to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (p. 16)- which saw almost every country committing to limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels (The Climate Institute 2017). However, at current emission rates, we will have reached 1.5°C in 20 years (The Climate Institute 2016). The current Australian government’s target to reduce emissions by 26-28% on 2005 levels actually aligns with a global 3-4°C increase (The Climate Institute 2017). Others insist stabilisation of CO2 essentially requires an 80-90% reduction below current levels (United Kingdom 2006; Hargroves & Smith 2006).

Over 30 national councils form the EU, whom together, “acknowledge economic needs and social aspirations, but accept protection of the environment and natural resources as fundamental” (European Environmental Advisory Councils [EEAC], cited in Bosselmann 2008, pp. 192-193). Businesses are required to abide by its 450 environmental regulations, with 100 additions annually (Weidenbaum 2004, p. 77).

The UN’s 1992 Earth Summit resulted in the Rio Declaration and its Agenda 21 action plan – albeit, a non-binding agreement, rifled with diplomatic compromises arising from concerns of developing nations (Elliott 2004). Another result was the Convention on Biological Diversity – an international legally binding treaty that to date has 193 parties (United Nations n.d.). However critics lament it as ‘soft’ (Redgwell 1992, p. 265, cited in Elliott 2004, p. 39) – “just one of many typical examples where the concern for exponential destruction has been perverted into a preoccupation with new scientific and (bio-)technological developments to boost economic growth” (Chatterjee and Finger 1994, p. 2, cited in Elliott 2004, p. 39). The 2009 Copenhagen Conference failed to reach agreement between 180 governments, and similarly, its 2012 Rio+20 agreement has not made any notable progress (Huwart & Loïc Verdier 2013).

Demonstratively, despite globalisation’s 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and other Matter, it wasn’t until 1993 that ‘major dumpers’ France, the UK and the US agreed to an unconditional ban on dumping nuclear waste in the sea (Elliott 2004, p. 69). Furthermore, in a blatant disregard of the law, the Khian Sea (later renamed the Pelicano) carrying 28 million pounds of Philadelphia’s toxic incinerated ash waste – spent two years wandering the seas seeking to dump its cargo. Post refusal by 11 countries, Pelicano eventually returned home, empty of waste, with insufficient records showing where the waste ‘disappeared’ to (The New York Times 1988).

Seemingly, even with the aforementioned incomprehensive list of environmental commitments and policies, it appears globalisation’s efforts are unable to reach multilateral agreement, and furthermore, compliance. Elliott surmises there is “a crisis in capacity, a failure of governance, an apparent lack of political will” (2004, p. 4). In establishing why, some claim it is states’ self-protecting from economical disadvantage, as demonstrated by New Zealand’s hesitations to ratify Kyoto environmental protocols (Gumley & Daya-Winterbottom 2009), and the US’s flat-out refusal (Huwart & Loïc Verdier 2013). Developing nations also argue that as developed nations caused the majority of pollution, they should bear most responsibility. An example beckoning to these arguments was the proviso under the 1987 Montreal Protocol on substances that depilate the ozone layer (notably CFCs and halons) – developing nations were given a 10-year grace period (Elliott 2004, pp. 75-76).

There are certainly instances, however, where taking preemptive or voluntary sustainability measures create considerable economic benefit to corporations and governments – the key posit of globalisation’s defending camp. They contend globally concerted efforts is the only solution to abating environmental threats – claiming it is not necessarily trade that environmentalists oppose, but rather further economic growth, asserting, “Stopping growth is not an option. The challenge is managing it” (Wolf, 2004, p. 189). And thus, globalisation actually minimizes environmental harm as a result of capitalism’s tendency towards competition (Wolf 2004).

The apparel and textiles industry is an example of challenging exponential growth. Only 20% of clothing worldwide is reused or recycled, with annual consumption to 2030 forecasted to grow by 63% (having already doubled over the past decade), simultaneously with a 50% increase in water consumption, 63% in energy consumption and 62% in waste (Global Fashion Agenda & The Boston Consulting Group 2017). Currently, the UK disposes of 235 million items annually, almost half from order mistakes like incorrect colour (Siegle 2017).

In addressing apparel’s externalities, global corporations H&M, Adidas and Inditex collaborated on the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Program (Global Fashion Agenda & The Boston Consulting Group 2017). (H&M – famous for ‘ready-made’ fashion – has a recycled clothing initiative, yet it would require 12 years to match the equivalent 1,000 tons of waste it produces in 48 hours (Kozlowski 2017)). As local innovators, Interface Ltd produces carpets made from renewable biomass like corn, replacing petrochemicals – the “first certified climate neutral-product in the world” (Hargroves & Smith 2006, p. 77).

The next argument clearing globalization’s environmental harm is the ‘weaning’ from fossil fuels and harmful substances. BP claims CO2 emissions from energy consumption only rose 0.1% in 2016, with 2014-2016 averages the lowest of any three-year period since 1981-1983 (2017a, p. 2). Coal’s global share of primary energy dropped to 28.1% in 2016, the lowest since 2004 (BP 2017a, p.2) – with China, accounting for 50% of that demand, making changes to clean coal technologies (World Energy Council 2016, p. 13). The same year witnessed China surpassing the US as the largest renewable energy consumer, accounting for 20.5% of the 33.4% growth worldwide – their CO2 emissions simultaneously declining 0.7%, (compared to decade-long annual growth of 4.2%) (BP 2017b, p.1). Globally, renewable energy is outpacing fossil fuels in annual growth at 2.6% and 0.6% respectively (U.S. Department of Energy 2016). However, in 2004, China also bypassed the US for municipal waste generation, expecting to double the US by 2050 – “inextricably linked” to urbanization, economic development, and consumer-based lifestyles” (Hoornweg & Bhada-Tata 2012, p. 2).

In addressing the aforementioned policy paralysis, evidence of the unscathed do exist – notably contributed to NGOs. For example, the IUCN insofar has assessed 77,340 species, with a goal of 160,000 – costing $60 million USD (IUCN 2015). Their focus on environmental economic analysis resulted in the $4.5 million USD rangeland restoration project in Jordan, Egypt and the League of Arab States (IUCN 2016, p. 26). Its partnership with UNEP and the Organisation of American States formed the Global Judicial Institute for the Environment – which aims to support courts and tribunals globally to enforce environmental laws (IUCN 2016, p. 28); and its Protected Planet Report shows an overall increase of almost 300% in marine protected areas over the last decade (IUCN 2016, p. 36).

Lastly, governments are spending big on sustainability; the UK government stresses global cooperation and innovation is essential for food security. Annually, it spends 400 million pounds on agricultural research and science, including exporting expertise – an exemplar being strawberries produced with 70% less water (the technology now being transferred to potatoes) (United Kingdom 2012). It also contributes 12 million pounds to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

In evaluating the case studies and concrete evidence contributed in this essay, we could reach various conclusions. Politicians, corporations, environmentalists, and citizens mirror this ambivalence and uncertainty across the globe. Indeed, there is no definite consensus – nor is there agreed upon models that can give us the synopsis of our environment’s health or causations of such. We are instead left only with a myriad of predictions, commitments and possible solutions.

Arguably, there is only one thing for certain; the environment will continue to face enormous stains and pressure from globalisation as the world’s human population continues to grow, along with its consumerism and meat-appetite. Meeting the challenges, and subsequent ramifications from such, will require a globally concerted effort, and most certainly will prove impossible to be redressed only by individual sovereign or protectionist state attitudes. With globalisation here to stay, we must, out of urgency, find a way to overcome policy paralysis to further hamper globalisation’s impacts the environment. Our very wellbeing and lives depend on it.


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