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Even U.S. Pollution is Being Outsourced

Even U.S. Pollution is Being Outsourced

Forget about the jobs – corporate America is now so obsessed with outsourcing that it’s even outsourcing our pollution.

When the United States and other developed Europeans nations talk about how they’re working to cut their carbon emissions, take these words with a grain of salt. In truth, they’re just sending their pollution-brewing businesses to other countries, leaving them to take the heat for the environmental damage.

Make no mistake – the United States is very much complicit in the emissions on the rise in developing nations. The electronics and clothing produced in many of these factories aren’t for the benefit of the local population. Instead, these goods get exported back to America. Is it really fair to say that the pollution is China’s fault when Americans are using the smart phones that were created from these carbon emissions?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this fact has made attributing carbon emissions to certain countries far more complicated. Generally, western nations only want to claim the greenhouse gases being released within the boundaries of their own countries, even though they should have to take responsibility for the companies operating abroad on their behalf. Moving forward, as the international community will demand accountability in an attempt to avert a climate crisis, this discrepancy will certainly become a heavily debated topic.

“If we are just looking at our national inventory to understand the emissions trends, it is just not telling the full picture of our impacts,” said Cynthia Cummis, an environmental expert for the World Resources Institute. “We need to understand the full life cycle of all the goods and services that we are purchasing and selling.”

The situation is even worse when you consider that these developing nations rely on some of the dirtiest forms of energy around. Burning coal, which is a nightmare for the climate, is the most popular way to create these American goods because there are rarely regulations in place to limit its use.

There’s no point in the United States patting itself on the back for working toward cutting emissions when it is covertly outsourcing its dirty work. As long as the United States maintains its love affair with excessive consumption, the pollution problem will persist, though perhaps in other, less wealthy countries.

This unofficial policy of “out of sight, out of mind” will have an expiration date eventually. While the United States may successfully push the smog to other countries, in the end, the resulting climate change will affect us all.

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10:49AM PST on Feb 5, 2014


11:27AM PST on Jan 29, 2014


4:12AM PST on Jan 29, 2014

Thank you for the article.

4:53AM PST on Jan 28, 2014

The human leading to pollution would suffer from that very soon

8:22PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

We also send our contaminated recycling overseas- so that it is now just trash (pollution) when it can't be recycled properly.

8:17PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Interesting. Good points made, I always thought that once a business moved to another country(such as our paper mills for example) that we would no longer buy their product and just open a new place here in which we can buy from our own and keep work here as well...but in the end that hasn't happened at all lol. So anyways I liked the read here.

4:29PM PST on Jan 26, 2014

It's incredibly shortsighted for the USA to continue to outsource for $$$ reasons thinking that the enviro consequences won't eventually float on past the invisible boundaries under the same big dome right back over and bite us in the a**. Oh, wait. It's already doing that. Karma happens anyway. The whole world knows that America's consumption and production--whether it's done within our borders or not--holds a large share of the burden on climate change. The world also knows we have the means to start doing something to start making drastic changes TODAY in cleaner energy and a whole host of other practices...
AND? I just don't understand what we are waiting for. The earth keeps telling us that she is not happy and to please change.

"When you know better you do better" ~ Maya Angelou

2:01PM PST on Jan 26, 2014

This is a continuing problem, the big business moving toxic operations overseas... So bad for everyone, not just the people in the foreign countries most directly affected.

5:46AM PST on Jan 26, 2014


5:10PM PST on Jan 25, 2014


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