Research from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEO) at the University of New York and the University of Durham reveals the fact that despite the efficiency improvements in the global supply chain of the products consumed in the UK, there has been a parallel growth of consumption, and an overall growth in carbon dioxide emissions.
For example, between 1992 and 2004 UK’s CO2 emissions grew by 217 million tons, but the savings resulted from making the industry more efficient only counted in 148 million tons. The difference of 69 million tons says the English really did consume more than the growth in efficiency could afford.
Dr Jan Minx, of SEI, who led the study, said: “Our research highlights that between 1992 and 2004 the additional CO2 emissions from growing consumption in the UK have outweighed decarbonisation efforts in the global supply chain.” The co-project leader, Dr Giovanni Baiocchi, added: “The UK’s continuous transition towards a service economy might have benefitted the UK’s territorial emission balance, but has made little difference for the climate from a global perspective.”
There’s always a trade-off when you want to save something – the thing you saved will more or less return to you in another form, or in another way. You can’t save carbon dioxide, for example, unless you really consume less and change your lifestyle, even if you make tremendous efforts of reducing the cars’ consumption, or making factories pollute less. It’s also a principle in economics that I’m afraid will happen to any energy quantity we’d have at our disposal.