I think that it’s really interesting where the world is heading. Thanks to better technology and greater access to bandwidth, the internet is truly making the world a smaller and more connected place. So this means that what happens in one country can really have repercussions in another one. Also, you have a situation where more and more people are moving from one country to another, in search of jobs. It would be interesting to see if this trend is going to continue, or if there will eventually be a reduction in this kind of labor mobility.
So you have people traveling to other countries looking for work. And once they find work, they send money back home, which helps to raise living conditions for their loved ones. This has some beneficial effects in relation to fossil fuels. So for example, if his or her family used to depend on wood burning stoves or charcoal for cooking, then they can move to something which gives off less pollution. This is also good for the indoor air quality and the respiratory health of people. A downside though is that the increased income may allow the family to buy a car, as well as eat more meat, which will contribute additional carbon to the atmosphere. So in a way, this is a double edged sword.
Also, let’s say that the worker makes a money transfer to Philippines or India, and then multiply that by thousands or hundreds of thousands of transfers. You’re looking at the possibility of benefits and disadvantages, such as the ones mentioned above, except in much larger numbers and with a much broader scope. As entire nations benefit from inflows of cash from workers abroad, the governments are going to have to find ways to address the increased carbon footprint from many more additional cars and motorcycles on the road, as well as more power plants needed to feed the electric consumption of a more electrically dependent populace.
Many of these are the same questions that developed countries are also trying to find answers for. The hope is that any existing technological advances in terms of cleaner power generation can be harnessed by the developing countries as soon as possible. This way, they can try to skip the stage where they are first dependent on power generation based on coal or oil, or other carbon-intensive power plants. We can see some of this happening, with some usage of solar and wind generation in certain places. But this will need to grow further if there is really going to be a dent in humankind’s overall carbon footprint.