Physical Trade Flows of Pollution-Intensive Products: Historical Trends in Europe and the World
Lanham, MD : Altamira Press
InHomborg, A.; McNeill, J.; Martinex-Alier, J. (ed.), Rethinking Environmental History: World-System History and Global Environmental Change, pp. 307-326
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Homborg, A.; McNeill, J.; Martinex-Alier, J. (ed.), Rethinking Environmental History: World-System History and Global Environmental Change
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
In the debate on international trade, the environment and sustainable development, a growing number of empirical studies are devoted to the assessment of the international distribution of environmental pressures induced by the production of goods requiring intensive use of natural resources. This chapter contributes to this discussion by analyzing trends in imports and exports of pollution-intensive products in different regions throughout the world. Our results suggest that exports of pollution-intensive products (quantified in units of weight) are increasing across time in nearly all of the regions considered. However, from 1978 to 1996, the share of pollution-intensive exports to total exports (measured in monetary units) decreased in the EU, U.S. and Japan, increased in South America and Africa, and remained constant in Southeast Asia. We also found that the EU was a net importer of products from polluting sectors during the whole period of analysis. Despite the limitations of the analysis in terms of reliability and completeness of data, the current chapter contributes to the assessment of the worldwide distribution of exports from polluting sectors and, indirectly, to the debate on the “pollution haven” hypothesis.
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