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Local Consumption and Global Environmental Impacts : Accounting, Trade-offs and Sustainability
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Globalization increases the interconnectedness of people and places around the world. Goods and services consumed in one country are often produced in other countries and exchanged via international trade. This book describes how local consumption, particularly in urban areas, is increasingly met by global supply chains, often involving large geographical distances and leading to more global environmental impacts, such as pollution, climate change, water scarcity, and deforestation and other land conversions, all impacting on important ecosystem services.
It is shown how inequalities in consumption become translated into environmental terms: thus people in rich countries maintain higher incomes and more resource-intensive lifestyles, while people in poorer countries are often bearing the environmental consequences. To account for these impacts of consumption and distribution of wealth a global supply and value chain analysis is needed. The authors provide an overview of key methods, including Multi-Regional Input-Output analysis and Life Cycle Assessment. Subsequent chapters connect local consumption to the global consequences of different environmental issues, such as water and land use and stress, greenhouse gases emissions, and other air pollution. Each issue is assessed in a separate chapter, including case studies from China, US and UK, as well as one chapter that assesses trade-offs among different environmental impacts driven by consumption.