March 24, 2017

What is our carbon footprint?

What is our carbon footprint?

 

Climate discussion in Finland has taken some absurd turns. People are asking with new emphasis: why should we actually care about our own carbon footprint, because no matter what we do, there will always be more people in China or India, and everything there grows much faster?

This type of thinking is sad. It’s a bit like alternative facts meeting dumb logic. Fear and nostalgia seem to take over rational thinking: sticking to our national commitments would result in our remaining industrial capabilities be sacrificed for nothing. Or that the enormous global disparities at the household level could never be addressed without compromising our living standards.

 It doesn’t matter if one argues for climate justice or global business, the rational approach is not to keep reducing the “our” to smaller and smaller units but to reconfigure a bigger, more meaningful “our”.  If my carbon footprint is 20 times that of a Tanzanian family, the gap is ours, the reconfigured footprint we’ll have to work out the solutions to together. Empty idealism? No. It’s only the reconfigured joint footprints that will give us access to new climate business. Naïve idealism is to think we’ll thrive off small-time sub-contracting on Chinese megaprojects alone.

 When I figure out a mutually sustainable way to balance my carbon books with 20 Tanzanian families, I’ve innovated a business model and made 20 new customers and partners in virgin growth markets. When that model gets scaled up, the game changes but we keep winning – because it’s all about our footprint.

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Written by Roope Kiviranta

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