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1.1 Workbook contents

The main teaching text of this unit is provided in the workbook below. The answers to the exercises that you'll find throughout the workbook are given in the answer book. You can access it by clicking on the link under the workbook. Section 4.2 of the unit requires you to listen to some audio files. You'll find these on the next page of this unit.

Click on 'View document' to open the workbook (PDF, 4 MB).

7.2 Answers

Question 1

Although most people immediately think of economic globalisation, Section 1 shows how political, social/cultural and ecological globalisation are also significant in the context of global environmental change.

Question 2

The advocates of ‘business learns’ are optimistic about the global free-market civilisation they believe they are building, but they also believe business needs to heed environmental and social concerns for its own sake. ‘Radic
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4.3 Green from the grassroots up

People who demand a radical break with the business-dominated path of economic globalisation believe that the claims of the mainstream business community are at best hopelessly inadequate, and at worst deceitful. However, they know they have to come up with some answers of their own. This section outlines ideas that seek to underpin a transition to green economies owned and run at grassroots level. Sounds ambitious? Author(s): The Open University

1.1 What is 'globalisation'?

Activity 1 What does ‘globalisation’ mean to you?

Note down on paper or in your learning journal  your first tho
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Acknowledgements

The material acknowledged below is Proprietary and used under licence, see terms and conditions). This content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following:

Figures

Figur
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3.1 Greenland's snowfall

Greenland snowfall differs depending on whether it falls in summer (when snow is comparatively warm and moist) or winter (when snow is cold and dry). These differences mean that as the snow is turned to ice, annual layers are formed that are in many ways similar to tree rings: thick annual layers mean high snowfall and thin annual layers low snowfall. The accumulation of snowfall on the summit of Greenland – and most importantly what is trapped within the crystals as it turns to ice – can
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • appreciate how chemical processes in the rest of the world affect the Arctic environment and the species inhabiting it;

  • recognise the physical processes that determine atmosphere and oceanic flows in the Arctic;

  • appreciate the scientific research process and the use of scientific evidence;

  • use quantitative scientific evidence to examine the link between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels a
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6.3 The role of active citizens and communities

Few people agree that individuals should take the main responsibility for tackling environmental issues. For example, in a 2007 poll of over 2000 UK citizens, 70% agreed that the government should take a lead in combating climate change, even if it means using the law to change people's behaviour. However, over 60% disagreed that there was nothing they could do to avert climate change and over half agreed that they would do more if others did more too, although 40% thought that recycling was
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4.2 Carbon reduction targets

Let's now look at carbon footprint reduction targets in a bit more detail.

The first international agreement to set carbon reduction targets was the 1997 United Nations Kyoto Protocol, which requires developed countries to reduce their human-generated greenhouse gas emissions by an average of just over 5% on 1990 levels by 2008 to 2012. By the time the treaty came into force in 2005, only the USA and Australia had refused to sign. (A new Australian government finally signe
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2.2 Records of the Earth's temperature

To put the temperature records reported by the IPCC in context, we start with a longer-term geological perspective on the Earth's GMST.


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1.8 End of section questions

Question 5

1.6 The human impact on the atmosphere: the coming of the industrial age

There is no doubt that CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere. The record from Mauna Loa charts a continuing rise in CO2 concentration since measurements began in 1958, when the level was 315 ppm; the value had reached about 370 ppm by the end of the 20th century, and hit more than 378 ppm in 2004. Important as changes in atmospheric CO2 undoubtedly are (see below), we need to be aware that this is not the whole story of human-induced greenhouse forcing. In par
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1.3.5 Corporate connections

As I mentioned in Section 2, what was happening in the factories of overseas contractors was said to have appeared remote to most, if not all, the chief executive officers of the clothing multinationals in the 1980s. Overseas contractors were selected on the basis of market price, quality and reliability, not on whether forced or child labour happened to be employed to stitch the product together. However, all that changed in the early 1990s when the geographical ties between the big retailer
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1.2.10 Summary

  • The shift of the world's manufacturing base from developed to developing economies in the 1970s heralded the beginning of a new global division of labour and the rise of global factories to produce for Western markets. The search for ever-cheaper labour sources undertaken by multinational firms established a new geography of low-cost manufacturing operations which, to this day, remains controversial.

  • The rise of subcontracting as the most flex
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1.2.6 Defining global markets

Global markets for manufactured goods, as opposed to, say, primary commodities such as oil and timber, arose largely in the second half of the twentieth century as trade between countries intensified. The lowering of transport costs and the relative fall in trade barriers enabled firms in one country to compete with a domestic rival in another. The supply of manufactured goods across the globe as a result of worldwide demand, principally from the affluent economies, thus heightened competitio
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1.2.5 Offshore fragments of industry: a pro-market standpoint

From a pro-market standpoint, global market forces and the competitive pressures that they generate leave businesses with no choice but to take advantage of lower labour costs elsewhere. In the textile business or the toy business, lower wage costs are the key to profitability; if your competitors find a cheaper labour source, you either follow their example or go out of business. It is not, so the argument runs, because managers lack integrity or compassion that there are now more manufactur
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1.2.3 Activity 2

Before you read on, I would like you to dwell for just a moment on the significance of this shift from direct investment by Western firms to the establishment of subcontracting ties with overseas partners. Aside from outside firms being able to p
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material within this unit.

Table

Box 4: Four Scenarios for 2050, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 22nd Report, Energy– The Changing Climate, June 2000. Crown copyright material is reproduced under class licence number C01W0000065 with the p
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2.4 Natural science valuation: towards ecological restoration

While the previous two subsections dealt with the social sciences, the ideas of ecology represent more the natural sciences tradition. In the early years of controversy around how to practise sustainable development, some concern was expressed about the perceived bias towards social rather than natural sciences. Bryan Norton (1992), for example, is critical of the social scientific approach. He argues that reliance on standard economic and other social scientific tools will not be enough to e
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • describe environmental matters regarding obligation and entitlements from a ‘caring’ perspective;

  • appreciate the significance of environmental consequentialist ethics in conversations around developing care;

  • identify and compare formal and less formal expressions of environmental responsibility;

  • understand ‘accountability’ in the context of environmental issues;

  • ide
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