The “Earth Hour” launched by World Wildlife Fund since 2007 has entered its fourth year. This activity led the charge at first in Sydney, later the lineup expanded to countries around the world. However, after turning off the lights for one hour, what kind of awakening did people get? The symbolism of participating in this event is that despite the power of a few countries alone, people throughout the world must work together to solve the global warming problem. We live in a globalized world in which we obtain the prosperity and development. In this stunning development, however, the global warming or climate change problem hidden behind has seriously threatened the existence of the human environment. We must rely on the forces of globalization and the global joint efforts of people to tackle such a crisis and to safeguard the benefits of our next generations.
Along with economic globalization, industrial production and free trade among countries in the world have developed to a very advanced stage; however, the damage to the environment, as well as the tremendous impact of climate change, makes us have to retake the great crisis of human existence lurking behind of the globalization into account. Nowadays, the atmosphere is gradually warming with the accumulation of the greenhouse gases (GHG), all kinds of climate change phenomenon such as droughts, floods, increasing temperatures and rising sea-levels bring impacts to the entire globe (Hallman, 2002). Chanda (2007) claimed that “the connection between carbon-emitting economic growth and increasing trade and industrialization brought by globalization is unmistakable.” In his article, he also pointed out that though globalization does not account for deforestation alone, it does become the conduit and accelerator for the forces which reduce the forest area. The news titled “Globalization Is Fueling Global warming” reported by Les Leopold (2007) also claimed that our world would continue to be chemically poisoned and globally warmed if the accelerating global trade was not limited sensibly. It also censured that the pro-globalization forces disregarded climate change and kept inculcating the advantages of free trade: falling prices, increased efficiency, shaking the country off poverty and achieving global wealth (Leopold, 2007). It is undeniable that commercial trade develops to enhance the people’s living standard, it is easier and more convenient to access to needed goods. However, if we do not take measures to protect the Earth, then, one day, we have no chance to enjoy the wealth because this land which we step on will perish.
Climate change is not only closely linked with people’s daily routines, but also affect the production of people’s food, particularly the most common crops, rice and wheat food. If the bad weather causes crop failures, the world’s growing population will very likely suffers from famine. A news (December, 2009) from UN News centre reported that as Asia’s agriculture has been damaged by the climate change, 10 countries, held an UN-sponsored meeting in December 2009 in Hanoi, Vietnam to discuss how to maintain sustainable farming practices to meet the demand of the current population. According to the news, the World Meteorological Organization (MWO) recommended these countries to enhance indoor and urban agriculture to deal with the need of growing populations in Asian cities. While facing the increasingly severe climate change, this would certainly be a way to meet the needs of the population, but such a proposal is obviously a solution which demands substantial human and material resources. Moreover, among these countries, such as Vietnam, Afghanistan, Thailand are developing countries. Depending on their economic abilities may not be able to afford to set indoor and urban agriculture. In this case, if the rich countries can play the spirit of international mutual-assistance, funds will be injected into these developing countries to help them raise the level of agriculture and to save the threat of climate change to agriculture. Furthermore, a fact stated by Chanda (2007) is that the ozone hole has been partially mended by the effort of the Montreal Protocol in combating ozone depletion. This shows that if the states are willing to cooperate and contribute a force, it is possible to save the earth crisis.
Nevertheless, the most critical work should be to reverse the phenomenon of climate change. The most important job to avoid the tragedy of the destruction of Earth is reducing GHG emissions to slow global warming rate. David G. Hallman (2007) argued that the global problem should not be equal responsibility of all people and a distinction between the luxury emissions of the rich and the survival emissions of the poor should be made. This is because the industrialized nations covering less than one-fifth of the world’s population were actually the main culprits for most of the GHG emission over the twentieth century. As he mentioned, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change had been adopted in the Rio Earth Summit 1992 and the negotiations had furthered another agreement requiring the industrialized countries to afford more precise aim of emission reduction. Although some campaigns which intended to convince the public and government of the downsides of gases reduction were mounted in the western countries, dependable studies proved that enhancing energy efficiency brings advantages to ecological and economical aspects (Hallman, 2002). Besides, according to the negotiations, the industrialized nations could assist the developing countries in raising their manufacturing conditions, by increasing the energy-efficiency, to reduce emissions (Hallman, 2002). Therefore, those industrialized countries should make the best of their science and technology achievement to facilitate the emission reductions of other developing countries.
Apart from this, when the communication and transportation are developed to promote links between people and increase access to information or goods, a potential consumption of resource and energy is caused. The suffering one is eventually the Earth’s ecological environment. An example taken from New York Times is China, which obtains an enormous economic growth, consequently consumes a large amount of fuel and power (Leopold, 2007). An ironic fact pointed out by Leopold (2007) is that while we import the high-efficiency light bulbs to save energy, the transportation results in the gain of carbon. Leopold hence proposed the next wave of green products to be made near to the product-using place; this not only creates homemade and green jobs, but also reduces global warming. It is worth noting while we think of using high-tech products to protect the environment, the transport strategy, manufacturing sites and other objective factors, to a certain extent, influence the green-environmental programs. Hence, we can deduce that not merely the national attitudes to environmental issues and their policy implementation are critical in dealing the global warming issue, but the consciousness of the entrepreneurs, business groups and individuals is also significant.
Besides governments have leading powers on this issue of globalization while playing a role in international decision-making, the business groups and individuals also have to respond positively to the governmental policies on this global subject which has close relationship with the general public. Although many non-governmental organizations serve and contribute in this area, no power is more significant than those of the governments’ to fight against the problems (Chanda, 2007). Dahl (1998) also claimed that there is problem of values implanted in the institutional structures and “the problem is aggravated by phenomena of rapid economic globalization, while the counterbalancing political structures have not kept pace and are losing their power over a globalizing world.” Like he mentioned, the idea is that the social and environmental problems are the responsibilities of the government while businesses only account for businesses. This is incorrect because the Earth belongs to everyone. To protect it is not just of the countries and the government but the common task of all people.
Actually, there is also an issue of global justice. Joseph E. Stiglitz (2006) indicated that the United States as the world’s biggest polluter had refused to sign the Kyoto agreement while the other developing countries had no commitments of reducing environmental pollution. He refuted some U.S. politicians’ opinion about reduction of emissions compromises the quality of American life, but also pointed out the inadequate point in the Kyoto Protocol, which is in line with “national emission reductions relative to each nation’s level in 1990” (Stiglitz, 2006). There was conflict between the U.S and the developing countries. The U.S. refused to sign the protocol if the developing countries did not reduce emissions, while the developing countries consider unreasonable to allow them to pollute as much per capita as the U.S. (Stiglitz, 2006). Stiglitz (2006) hence put forward a proposal suggesting a global environmental tax on emissions, which requires the reduction level to equal the Kyoto target. This is an approach of “everyone pays the social cost of their emissions”. Actually, it is fair for those people who caused more damage to the Earth should contribute more forces in this case. They gain more benefits than others from business and industry, thus they should take greater responsibility to the environment.
On the other hand, educating the public about the awareness to protect the earth and slow down the speed of climate change also becomes an important issue. We often say that a trend of the globalization is in the message transmission has reached the same speed of light for all around the world to receive messages. Therefore, we should use this advantage of globalization. In this era of information explosion, it is an easy task for a concept to spread around the world, so, the power of media to be should be made full use to spread the knowledge of protecting the earth and awake all people to show concern to the threat of global warming.
In conclusion, under globalization, developed transport and communications are great achievements that they promote the trade prosperity and the exchange of the world, so there is large population mobility resulting in shrinking space and time. However, the climate change and global environmental issues have been serious threats to human survival. Climate change not only has implication on people’s daily life, but also affects one of the most basic needs of human life, the food production. Therefore, countries should help each other ride out the storm together. Many developing countries need the help of developed countries to achieve rapid economic development, so that they have enough technology to reduce emissions and help slow global warming problem. Developed countries with enormous wealth have become the biggest emissions culprits, so they should pay more efforts than the other developing countries to reduce emissions. In addition, global warming is not just the responsibility of the government, but all walks of life, all individuals should be concerned about it. Transport and communications should be developed as the benefits of globalization and provide a good channel to awaken people to care for the Earth.