Can biz groups’ecological modernization solove global warming problems

In the industrialized modern society, there are many problems which are caused by high reliance on development of technology. Urban sprawl, fast expansion of the modern cities beyond suburbs, is encouraged by the development of new technology, the invention of automobiles. There are many solutions relying on the development of technology to resolve problems resulted from urban sprawl. These solutions are not trying to decrease the causes of problems, but are only trying to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases. This essay explains the relationship between the social and ecological problems and urban sprawl and also argues that business groups’ solution relying on the development of technology may not resolve these problems.Urban sprawl, the expansion of the cities beyond suburbs, is possible due to the mass production of automobiles. As more people drive a car, urban can expand more accordingly. (Martin 2007:6) However, urban sprawl also requires more car use because the distance between residential area and work place is too far to walk or bicycle. In the suburbanized mega size cities, citizen may have to drive a car even to buy a bottle of milk at local store. Thus, motorization helped urban sprawl, and urban sprawl made citizens more dependent to a car.Motorized urban sprawl caused various social and ecological problems. These problems may be divided into three categories. Firstly, environmental problems are considerable issues driven by urban sprawl. Global warming and climate change is well known environmental issues caused by high energy consumption, especially due to the emissions of carbon dioxide by automobiles.  Among ecological problems in this categories are the loss of farm land and forest, the loss of architectural variety, the loss of open space and greenery, and higher noise level. The main cause of these problems is the overuse of automobiles. (Martin 2007:11) Secondly, the inequality between the rich and the poor is one of the major social problems. The cost burden to buy a car can be a hurdle for the poor separating them from the rich who drive a private car. Poor condition of public low cost transportation is also a factor of inequality. (Martin, 2007:11)  The disabled and the aged also suffer from technical requirement of high driving skills in crowded inner city. (Martin 2007:11) Thirdly, a number of health problems emerged due to the motorized urban sprawl. The higher car dependency leads to air pollution, increased car accidents, and the risk of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. (Frumkin 2001) The US style urban sprawl makes citizens to drive a car rather than walking or bicycling. It means less physical activity, resulting in the increase of possibility of obesity. Obesity itself is a dangerous cause of many diseases. (Frumkin 2001) Mental health is also threatened by the stress when driving long in a congested road. It refers to as road rage.To address these problems resulted from motorized urban sprawl, business groups, such as the WBCSD(World Business Council for Sustainable Development) and the ICC(International Chamber of Commerce), claim that ecological modernization, referring to as economic development with less damage on environment, is needed and it can be achieved by the development of technology. (Gonzalez 2005) The WBCSD suggested three ideas to confront these problems. These ideas are focusing on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions keeping the quantity of energy consumption constant. Among these solutions are increasing the energy efficiency, sequestration of greenhouse gases, and development of alternative energy. (Gonzalez 2005:15) The ICC is focusing mainly on the technological development of alternative energy. Among these are clean coals with sequestration technology, safer and advanced nuclear reactor, synthetic gasoline and diesel oil, and carbon free alternative fuels. (Gonzalez 2005:20) However, the ICC admits that the reduction of greenhouse gases is costly, resulting in less competitive in global business market. (Gonzalez 2005:21) Therefore the use of cheap fossil fuels may continue for a long time until the creation of economically competitive alternative energy sources.Although the business groups addressed various problems relying on the development of technology, their solutions do not adequately address the social and ecological problems. According to Gonzalez (2005:16, 17), their solutions are narrow and ineffective. The reason why is threefold. The first reason is that the solutions by business groups only shift the problems to other area not removing it. For example, nuclear energy has another huge problem of treating nuclear wastes. The second reason is that there is no effective technology as yet available. For one thing, hydrogen as an alternative energy source has the problems to solve in the area of production and storage. The third reason is that the business groups’ primary purpose is their profits. For example, the automobile manufacturers may not reduce their mass production of cars. Instead, they will promote more car use in developing countries, such as China and India. (Conybeare, cited in Gonzalez 2005: 23) It is true that the business groups’ approach is resolving some environmental issues like greenhouse gas emissions, but they do not adequately confront social and ecological problems. Especially, they do not consider social problems, such as social inequality between the citizens and health problems caused by car dependency.According to Gonzalez (2005:15), environmentally sensitive land management can be a fundamental solution to resolve the problems caused by urban sprawl. Among these are compact city planning, limited car use, and investing in the public transportation. But these Gonzalez’s approach has shortcomings because land management is hard to implement for already sprawled cities and these solutions might take a long time.In conclusion, motorized urban sprawl caused many social and ecological problems. To solve these problems, business groups suggested the solutions, referred to as ecological modernization, highly based on the technologies, such as the increase of energy efficiency, the sequestration of carbon dioxide and the development of alternative energy sources. These solutions resolve some environmental problems, but business groups’ approach does not adequately address social and ecological issues caused by urban sprawl. Especially, business groups do not consider about social problems, such as inequality issues and health problems.References:Frumkin, H. (2001) ‘Urban Sprawl and Public Health’ Public Health Reports, Vol.117Gonzalez, G. A. (2005) ‘Urban Sprawl, Global Warming and The Limits of Ecological Modernization’, Environmental Politics, 14:3, pp.34-362Martin, G. (2007) ‘Motorization, Social Ecology and China’, Area, Vol.39:1, pp.66-73