A Scan of Critical World Developments
research shows that, when the environmental impacts of international trade are taken into account, decoupling is a fiction. A country’s economic growth may reduce the extraction of natural resources domestically, but not the total worldwide extraction that the economy drives. The extraction does not disappear; it is simply displaced to other countries. The link between domestic demand and international production ought to be considered when assessing countries’ relative responsibilities for addressing global environmental problems. A true reduction of the footprint of affluent countries will require more than just increased efficiency in production: it will require an accounting for trade impacts and, equally importantly, a focus on demand itself through more sustainable lifestyles.