China as Chimney of the World: The Fossil Capital Hypothesis

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China as Chimney of the World: The Fossil Capital Hypothesis. / Malm, Andreas.

In: Organization & Environment, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2012, p. 146-177.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - China as Chimney of the World: The Fossil Capital Hypothesis

AU - Malm, Andreas

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - What has caused the early 21st-century emissions explosion in China? Driving a global explosion, it appears to stand in some relation to processes of globalization, but these links have mostly remained unexplored. This article revisits some established frameworks for understanding the connection between globalization and environmental degradation and argues that they are insufficient for explaining the Chinese explosion. A new hypothesis is outlined, called "the fossil capital hypothesis." It proposes that globally mobile capital will tend to relocate production to countries with cheap and disciplined labor, but only through the accelerated consumption of fossil energy. Via three specified "effects," the inflow of global capital will therefore set off massive increases in CO2 emissions. The hypothesis is applied in a brief analysis of developments in China between 2001 and 2008, and in other Asian countries after the Chinese strike wave in 2010.

AB - What has caused the early 21st-century emissions explosion in China? Driving a global explosion, it appears to stand in some relation to processes of globalization, but these links have mostly remained unexplored. This article revisits some established frameworks for understanding the connection between globalization and environmental degradation and argues that they are insufficient for explaining the Chinese explosion. A new hypothesis is outlined, called "the fossil capital hypothesis." It proposes that globally mobile capital will tend to relocate production to countries with cheap and disciplined labor, but only through the accelerated consumption of fossil energy. Via three specified "effects," the inflow of global capital will therefore set off massive increases in CO2 emissions. The hypothesis is applied in a brief analysis of developments in China between 2001 and 2008, and in other Asian countries after the Chinese strike wave in 2010.

KW - CO2 emissions

KW - globalization

KW - China

KW - embodied emissions in trade

KW - labor

KW - fossil capital

KW - environmental Kuznets curve in reverse

U2 - 10.1177/1086026612449338

DO - 10.1177/1086026612449338

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 146

EP - 177

JO - Organization and Environment

JF - Organization and Environment

SN - 1552-7417

IS - 2

ER -