"Globalization has profound negative impacts on the natural environment," declares Citizen Works, an activist group that Ralph Nader founded in 2001. Is it true?
"Measuring Globalization," a study in the January/February 2003 issue of Foreign Policy, discredits this bedrock principle of political environmentalism. The study -- devised by the consulting firm A. T. Kearney, Inc. and the Carnegie Institute for International Peace -- created a Globalization Index by combining data on 13 different variables, including trade, foreign direct investment, international travel and telephone traffic, the number of Internet hosts and servers, and participation in international organizations. The authors then compared the Globalization Index with the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) developed by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science. The EPI ranks countries according to their present air and water quality, land protection efforts, and climate change prevention results.
Contrary to the claims of Naderite environmentalists, Foreign Policy found that globalization and environmental protection go hand-in-hand: High levels of globalization correlate strongly with high levels of environmental quality.
Chart: Globalization and the Environment (unavailable online)