Whilst the Extinction Rebellion was in full swing today, I was with a client and we started to discuss if this level of disruption was helping the ‘cause’. My client then said what a lot of people say which is we should be targeting the far East countries like China and India as they are the biggest polluters.
I ventured that these manufacturing countries only make what we in the developed world will buy, and with our huge buying power, we could and should clearly influence what they make and how they make it. If there is any doubt about our buying power, the size and frequency of container ships arriving in Southampton alone will demonstrate the sheer volume of goods we import from the Far East.
The problem with this concept is that we all need to work together in order to raise standards to reduce emissions in the manufacture process, and in the design of products to minimise the carbon impact throughout their lifecycle. Not many people or companies can afford to go it alone in this. Car engines now produce far lower emissions than 10 years ago, houses are far better insulated now, both as a result of common regulations, which apply to us all.
It is this common ability or requirement to work together to higher standards reducing emissions and working towards a net carbon zero economy that will be the biggest loser from Brexit. I am not sure we will have the buying power to go it alone.
Just imagine if the only goods that could be sold into the whole of Europe and the USA were ultra low carbon products, what do you think the Far East would be manufacturing? If this is the message that is achieved by the Extinction Rebellion, then maybe it is worth it.