Guide Globalisation, Transport and the Environment

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As countries seek to join RTAs, they are also made to simultaneously embrace environmental cooperation agreements. Many countries, including Canada and those in the European Union, have developed national policies that stipulate that prior to signing any trade agreement, environmental impact assessments must be carried out. That means that any country that signs trade agreements with those countries must also automatically sign environmental cooperation deals.

China leading while the U. In , China closed down tens of thousands of factories that were not complying with its environmental standards. In contrast, we have seen a country like the U. He pulled the U. Through its America First Energy Plan , the Trump administration has outlined its preference for polluting industries, the use of fossil fuels and the revival of the coal industry.

This signals that deglobalising countries may drift away from sustainable development practices towards industrial policies that are devastating to the environment. As countries restrict international trade, the environment is likely at risk. Deglobalisation isolates countries, making them less likely to be responsible for the environment.

The gains associated with globalisation, on the other hand, can be used as effective bargaining strategies or an incentive to demand environmental accountability from countries hoping to benefit from global trading systems. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Image: Getty. This is an amazing engineering defence, designed to increase the resilience of the adjacent cliffs to erosion. Bacton cliff was created from a mixture of debris left by large ice sheets thousands of years ago.

Unprotected, the cliffs erode at a rate of a metre a year. This means that during extreme storm events, such as in , some five metres to ten metres of cliff can be lost overnight. Years of erosion have left just 15 metres between the terminal and the cliff edge. Coastal oil and gas facilities threatened by erosion often have hard rock armouring or groynes placed immediately in front of the cliffs they sit on.

However, history tell us this can actually increase erosion on the adjacent coast.

Globalization and the Environment

Sand gets trapped between groynes and cannot move to offer protection elsewhere. This means engineers cannot simply build more or bigger groynes in front of the Bacton terminal. A common alternative solution is to nourish beaches with extra sand or shingle. This helps build a bigger beach to stop the waves reaching the cliff and so reduces erosion.

But this only lasts a short period of time before the new sand is washed away. The The Zand Motor also brought some unexpected benefits. Instead of just being seem as a giant coastal protection scheme, it also has become a place for recreation such jogging or kite surfing. Condition: NEW. For all enquiries, please contact Herb Tandree Philosophy Books directly - customer service is our primary goal.

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View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title What impact has globalisation had on transport? Related reading Environmental Outlook to The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation: Policies and Options for Global Action beyond "synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title. But that is only the available potential, it will be the social forces and their institutions that will define what part of the new opportunity space will be deployed and how.

Thus, each great surge is unique due to historical, political and other contingent factors, but the recurring patterns have fundamental causal explanations that have to do with the way the economy and society assimilate successive surges of technical change. There have been five technological revolutions in years: the first was the industrial revolution machines, factories and canals from ; then, from , we had the age of steam, coal, iron and railways; from there was the age of steel and heavy engineering electrical, chemical, civil, naval ; in , with Ford's Model-T, began the age of the automobile, oil, petrochemicals and mass production and in , the year Intel's microprocessor was launched, our current age of information technology and telecommunications was initiated.

This information era is only halfway through its diffusion path. If history is a guide, it has 20 to 30 years of deployment ahead. The next revolution is likely to bring the age of biotech, bioelectronics, nanotech and new materials, in some combination, depending on unpredictable scientific breakthroughs. Each of these revolutions drives a great surge of development and shapes innovation for half a century or more.

Of course, this is a stylized description, because social reality is always much richer than the models that help us understand it. Yet, why do we call them revolutions? Because they go far beyond the powerful set of new industries; they also transform the whole economy providing a new techno-economic paradigm - or common sense best practice - for all.

What is most visible is, of course, the powerful cluster of interdependent new and dynamic industries and infrastructures. These result in explosive growth and structural change including the replacement of the industries that had been the engines of growth during the previous surge. On the other hand, each of these revolutions provides new multi-purpose technologies, infrastructures and organizational principles that are capable of modernizing all the existing industries too. The result is a quantum jump in innovation and productivity potential for all.

The whole process involves a massive alteration in the overall direction of change, transforming the opportunity space and the ways of living, working and communicating. Each technological revolution provides a new interrelated set of life-shaping goods and services at affordable prices. The age of steam, coal, iron and railways saw the emergence of Victorian living.

The British middle classes established an industry-based urban lifestyle different from that of the country-based aristocracy which spread to new upper classes elsewhere. The British, European and American upper and middle classes established a cosmopolitan lifestyle spreading to the upper classes of the world. Then, in the age of the automobile, oil, petrochemicals and mass production there was the American way of life, adopted at first by the upper and middle classes that established a suburban energy-intensive lifestyle, and spreading to the working classes of the advanced countries and to the middle classes of the developing world.

In the current age of information technology and telecommunications there could be sustainable global lifestyles. The question is whether the affluent educated classes of the developed and emerging countries will establish an ICT-intensive knowledge society with a variety of environmentally friendly lifestyles and consumption patterns. What is important to note is that each of these styles becomes the model of the good life and, as such, shapes the desires of the majority and guides innovation trajectories.

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To have an idea of the depth of change involved in each of these transitions we can observe the emergence of the American way of life as a paradigm shift from the s and its consolidation as the general lifestyle after World War II to a great extent, that lifestyle is still with us. The essential shift was from energy-scarce living when energy was expensive and often inaccessible, to energy-intensive homes and mobility, with energy being cheap and its availability seemingly unlimited.

The shift covered every aspect of life: from trains, horses, carriages, stage coaches, ships and bicycles to automobiles, buses, trucks, airplanes and motorcycles; from local newspapers, posters, theatres and parties to mass media, radio, movies and television; from ice boxes and coal stoves to refrigerators and central heating; from doing housework by hand to doing housework with electrical equipment; from natural materials cotton, wool, leather, silk to synthetic materials; from paper, cardboard, wood and glass packaging to a preference for disposable plastics of all sorts; from fresh food bought daily from specialized suppliers to refrigerated, frozen or preserved food bought periodically in supermarkets; and from urban or country living and working to suburban living separate from work.

All these changes took time and were strongly aided by advertising, business strategies and government policies. The intrinsic characteristics of ICT are compatible with green production and living. The techno-economic paradigm shift beginning in the s was meant to move society from the logic of cheap energy oil for transport, electricity, synthetic materials, etc. As a consequence it is possible to shift from preferring tangible products and disposability to preferring services and intangible value; from unthinking use of energy and materials to taking advantage of the huge potential of ICT for savings in energy and materials.

Essentially we can shift from unavoidable environmental destruction to potential environmental friendliness, but paradigm shifts confront inertia and contingencies; they are turbulent and take time. The first automobiles looked like horse-driven carriages. The driver sat uncovered at the front, in the same place as he would have done to hold the reins, the engine below him was measured in horsepower and every other part was made by the same engineering shops that made the carriages.

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It takes decades to arrive at a design that is consistent with the essence of a new technology. But, once it happens, you know it! Today's automobiles, for all their sophistication, are not fundamentally different from a Model-T Ford. Nevertheless, in spite of the potential of ICT for changing the way we live towards more services and less products, what still prevails is mass production disposability with its high use of energy and materials.

Because, in the crucial s - precisely when ICT producers were defining their growth strategies - there was cheap oil and cheap Asian labour. So it was not necessary to change the old marketing habits of planned obsolescence through rapid changes in fashion.

Yet to continue on this route, as alluded to in the introduction, would require the resources of more than one planet Earth. Nevertheless, conditions may now be changing in the direction of favouring the full shift.


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Two main events are leading us there: on the one hand, the financial crisis showing the need to find an opportunity space to guide the recovery and, on the other, the threat of global warming combined with the limits to availability of natural resources. The recent financial meltdown marks a structural shift in the economy that is typical of the way technological revolutions have propagated and been assimilated by business and society. Each great surge of development has seen a major financial crisis midway along the diffusion path of the technological revolution driving it.

Due to natural human resistance to radical change and the difficulty of social absorption of revolutions and new paradigms, each great surge is broken into two different periods. These periods can be termed installation and deployment and each lasts about 20 to 30 years. The installation period is led by financial capital, which is mobile and can rapidly shift investment from the mature and declining industries to a major experiment with the new technologies, making fast millions in the process.

It is a time of laissez faire, of Schumpeterian creative destruction, when the new paradigm battles against the old, when investment concentrates in new-tech and finance, and income is polarized, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. This period leads to a major financial bubble and ends with its collapse. What follows - which is where the world has been since - can be called the turning point even though it can last more than a decade, as it did in the s because it signals the need for a major shift in context.

To revive the economy, the State must come back actively and control of investment must shift from the hands of finance to the hands of production capital. By this time, some of the small companies led by bold engineer-entrepreneurs have turned into giants that can serve as engines of growth of the economy and take long-term decisions without short-term pressures from the stock market. Of course, this shift can only happen because there is a fundamental change in the social mood. From admiring the success of the financial masters of the universe, public opinion turns to demanding strict control of finance.

The losses incurred by people who had never before engaged in financial gambles, together with the ensuing recession and loss of jobs and the revelations about the irresponsible and even fraudulent behaviour of the financial world, cause popular indignation which puts pressure on politicians to bring the State back into the picture. If and when the appropriate changes in the institutional framework are made, the 20 or 30 years of the deployment period will begin.

Globalisation

It will depend on measures to restrain the casino behaviour and guide finance towards funding the real economy as well as on policies that will expand demand through State expenditure, income distribution and regulatory guidance towards the most promising and most socially rewarding technological opportunity spaces. This brings a time of creative construction and widespread application of the new paradigm for innovation and growth across the economy and of spreading of social benefits. Deployment is led by production capital and spans from a golden age of increasing growth and well-being to the maturity and exhaustion of that paradigm.

Then the cycle repeats itself with the next revolution. We can see the sequence in the historical record, where golden ages have regularly followed the boom and bust episodes that end the installation periods. Figure 2 puts the five surges in parallel in a stylized way. The pattern is in reality much less mechanical than shown; there are overlaps and delays and various other unique features in each case, but the basic sequence follows a fundamental causal chain.