Will De-globalization help with reducing carbon emissions

De-globalization or the reduction of global trade and interconnectedness should help to reduce carbon emissions in some ways. For example, if goods are produced and consumed locally, there may be fewer transportation-related emissions. However in the short term de-globalization may also lead to increased emissions in other areas, such as the construction of new infrastructure and the use of more energy-intensive production methods. I believe even if globalisation doesn’t slow down as expected, carbon emissions will slow rapidly with the help of AI, robots and new technology.

The 3d printing bubble may have popped but the technology is very early and AI and robots are still very early. Both robots and 3d printing will enable companies to effectively bypass China the manufacturing process, although China still processes the majority of the world’s materials and rare earth metals. But there is scope to bring both manufacturing and material/chemical processing closer to the origin in the future, again with the help of robotics and better manufacturing processes.  Resource-rich countries such as Australia, Brazil, Russia and Canada will benefit greatly as the world will need a lot of resources to upscale the green economy and reduce carbon emissions. 

Robots are being incorporated into manufacturing at a very fast rate.  Automation is going at breakneck speed, for example, Amazon has implemented a large number of robots in its warehouses as part of its “Amazon Robotics” program. The company has deployed more than 100,000 robots in its warehouses worldwide. These robots, also known as “drives,” are used to automate the process of moving goods around the warehouse and help to speed up the process of picking and packing orders. The robots move on a grid and are able to lift and move goods weighing up to 700 pounds.  

Transportation-related emissions: One of the main ways in which de-globalization may help to reduce carbon emissions is by reducing the number of goods that need to be transported long distances. If goods are produced and consumed locally, there will be less need for shipping and air freight, which are both major sources of carbon emissions.  Freight that is transferred by sea, eg iron ore and lumber could still be transported carbon neutral with ships running on green hydrogen, wind, electric (with better battery tech) or small-scale nuclear. 

Energy-intensive production methods: Another way in which de-globalization may help to reduce carbon emissions is by encouraging the use of more energy-efficient production methods. When goods are produced locally, it may be possible to use renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, which can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of production.

Carbon leakage: On the other hand, de-globalization may also lead to increased emissions in other areas, such as carbon leakage. Carbon leakage occurs when emissions are shifted from one country to another, as a result of changes in trade patterns. In the case of de-globalization, if countries are producing goods that they would previously have imported, they may end up using more carbon-intensive production methods.

Reversing globalization’s efficiency gains: De-globalization may also lead to a reversal of the efficiency gains that have been made through globalization. Because of globalization, companies have been able to take advantage of economies of scale, which have allowed them to produce goods at lower costs and with fewer emissions. De-globalization may lead to the fragmentation of production and supply chains, which could mean that goods are produced in smaller quantities and with higher emissions.

Impact on Developing Countries: De-globalization may also have a significant impact on developing countries, which rely heavily on exports as a source of income. If trade is reduced, it could mean that these countries are less able to invest in renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies, which could lead to increased emissions in the long term. However, these countries will benefit from new technology and reduced import and labour costs with the use of robots.

De-globalization could have both positive and negative impacts on carbon emissions, it’s a complex issue and will depend on how it’s implemented and the specific industries and regions affected.

Will De-globalization help with reducing carbon emissions

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