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New phase of globalisation could worsen CO2 pollution: study

AFP  |  Paris 

The shift of low-value, from and to coal-powered economies with even lower wages could be bad for the fight against climate change, researchers cautioned Monday.

As Asia's giants move up the globalisation food chain, many of the industries that helped propel their phenomenal growth -- textiles, apparel, -- are moving to Vietnam, and other nations investing heavily in a coal-powered future.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, global warming has been caused mainly by burning oil, gas and especially carbon-rich

"This trend may seriously undermine international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions," said Dabo Guan, a at the in Britain and of a study in Nature Communications.

"The carbon intensity of the next phase of global economic development will determine whether ambitious climate targets such as stabilising at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) will be met," he told AFP.

The 196-nation climate treaty, which goes into effect in 2020, calls for capping global warming at "well under" 2 C, and 1.5 C if possible.

Global temperatures have already risen a full degree Celsius since the mid-19th century, enough to disrupt weather patterns and boost deadly storms, droughts and floods.

Scientists have roughly calculated the amount of fossil humanity can burn without exceeding those limits. On current trends, this "carbon budget" will be used up in a of decades and Earth will likely hot up another two or three degrees by century's end.

The study, led by at the University of Cambridge, details a "new phase of globalisation" in which trade between developing countries expanded three times faster from 2005 to 2015 than international trade as a whole, which grew by 50 percent.

In 2014, this so-called "South-South" trade stood at $9.3 trillion (7.8 trillion euros).

This rapid growth "reflects a fragmenting of global supply chains," Guan said.

"The early-production stages of many industries have relocated from and to lower-wage economies, a trend that has accelerated since the global financial crisis of 2008." The ability to reign in global warming, he warned, may depend on curbing the growth in coal-based in countries poised to take off by filling this link in the

"The future of climate change mitigation is, to an important degree, in the hands of South-South cooperation," he said by phone.

The point is driven home by a second study showing that the planned expansion of coal-fired in Turkey, Indonesia, and other 2nd-generation emerging economies could wipe out efforts in and to slow consumption.

and have each cancelled more than 50 percent of planned coal-fired power plants, yet global investment continues to soar.

New coal-fired power in and Vietnam, for example, would see their CO2 emissions from coal increase four and ten fold, respectively, from 2012 to 2030, according to the study, published in

Money earmarked for coal development in has increased eightfold since 2016, while it has nearly doubled in

"Although the costs of renewables have recently fallen, they still can't compete with cheap coal in many parts of the world," said Jan Steckel, a at the on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin.

The study also notes that China is increasingly investing in coal-fired power plants abroad.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 17:25 IST