The global perspective
|● Global economic development patterns|
|● The industrialisation process|
|● Post-industrial society|
|● The potential for leapfrogging|
Environmental sustainability is a global issue: pollution does not respect national boundaries. The industrial system that creates it, and makes use of environmental resources, is increasingly organised on an international scale. This chapter explores the way in which industrial development patterns have influenced energy use around the world since the industrial revolution. It argues that new patterns of technological and industrial development may be needed in both the developed and the developing countries if the environmental limits that face the existing industrial system are to be overcome.
Our analysis so far has suggested that, in very general terms, a sustainable future is technically feasible but socially and politically problematic, in that it might be seen as challenging the industrial and economic status quo. Our focus has mainly been on energy use in the developed countries, which historically have created and continue to create the bulk of the world's pollution. However, the developing world is catching up. Indeed, as Figure 15.1 illustrates, in terms of carbon dioxide production, the developing countries are collectively beginning to catch up with the industrial countries. They could overtake substantially within a decade or so, especially if, as this projection assumes, the industrial countries manage to make some reduction in emissions. Note that, on this