We can’t blame China for burgeoning carbon emissions. We can only tackle climate change if we address the fact that a great proportion of China’s emissions – and other countries’ – come from the fact that we import goods from them.

The map below, from Carbon Brief, gives an indication of this: shades of blue represent carbon exports from countries, shades of red represent carbon imports.

Map of imported and exported carbon emissions by country

Last year the UK emitted 379MtCO2 of emissions from industry and energy generation. But this was dwarfed by 557MtCO2, from consumable goods, most of which are imported. [source]

The solution? We need to produce more of what we consume in our own country.

This will help us to control emissions in order to create a local, zero carbon, circular economy that uses resources efficiently.

There are other advantages to this strategy:

  • it creates jobs
  • it increases security
  • it reduces transport emissions.

This is particularly true of food and clothing. We import these from some parts of the world which are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Producing more of what we consume means that we will be more likely not to face shortages in the future.

How can we stimulate this change? Public bodies have a pivotal role to play. They can choose to procure more goods from within the UK and use their huge spending power to create sustainable production and supply chains.

Only then will we genuinely reduce our carbon and ecological footprints. It’s solution with many advantages. Let’s do it.