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Tariffs, enforcement

Impose tariffs on imports to the U.S. to finance carbon removal.
  [vote for,

Two takes on the same idea:

1. The U.S. could impose a carbon tariff on imported goods and commodities produced at sub-U.S. standards for pollution and carbon control. The amount of the tariff being the difference between the cost of the item produced to U.S. standards and the cost of production in the exporting country at lesser or no standards.

2. The tariff could be instead an enforcement mechanism from the coming Paris 2015 accords: countries would be held to their stated plans to reduce carbon emissions in the difference mentioned in #1 above versus the actual carbon emitted in the production of the export to the U.S.

In both #1 and #2, some adjustment can be made up or down depending on the producing countries' own imports of the supplies and materials from compliant or non-compliant countries used in production of the export.

The approach in number two might be better than number one as the latter risks isolating the U.S. from the world economy. It is possible that the tariff idea should not be discussed at the same conference as the participating countries' submitted plans. The existence of the tariff might spur a worse "race to bottom" in national plan standards than is currently anticipated in the developed vs. undeveloped economies debate.

What to do with the proceeds of this tariff? To keep the money in the U.S. we could, a.) lower other taxes (this accomplishes nothing really but may be tempting); b.) either finance the active removal of CO2 from the air, or reduce our own carbon emissions of U.S. industry via loans or grants or tax credits.

We could instead use the money for foreign aid specifically to reduce carbon (and maybe other pollution) setting up an account for each country based on its exports to the U.S. The foreign aid concept could possibly be a vehicle to finance emissions abatement in other countries. That might in turn finance U.S. exports of controls and more efficient industrial goods much as U.S. aid sometimes must be spent on U.S. products and foodstuffs. In any event, the aid would certainly be counted as partial fulfillment of any wealth redistribution as called for by the developing world.

Either of the approaches of the last two paragraphs could be utilized depending on the level of cooperation the U.S. gets from each trading partner country.

It certainly would call for quite a bureaucracy and verification apparatus. It was learned recently that China was massively understating its carbon emissions (possibly coming clean in order to add it to its own limits in the coming conference). Would the plan create a death spiral for world trade in the manner of tariffs being raised by governments during the 1930s Great Depression? The current multinational trade agreements structure would have to be rejiggered to conform with this notion.


daddyvortex, Nov 26 2015


       I'm sure the U.S. would be happy for other countries to similarly impose tarifs or bans on goods produced in the US to sub-other-countries standards in other areas. Positively delighted in fact. Can’t see any downside to this at all.
pocmloc, Nov 26 2015

       There is a fundamental problem with this sort of imperialism. The US, UK and other developed nations have massive per-capita carbon footprints, and have produced most of the excess CO2 in the world to support their energy-intensive lifestyles over the last century.   

       Now that those leading economies can afford to implement lower-carbon technologies, they are turning to the poorer economies and saying "Hey, we put so much pollution into the atmosphere that we can't let you add to it, so tough shit."   

       So, this idea is grotesquely unfair. Shame on you.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 26 2015

       How much of the US's oil consumption is imported? Big tariffs on oil imports might not please American consumers.
pocmloc, Nov 26 2015

       Ecofascists [-]
8th of 7, Nov 26 2015


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