“First Shot” in Carbon Trade War?

by Fran Smith on April 1, 2009

In the wake of the release of the Waxman-Markey energy bill, many commenters have pointed to the drastic restrictions on domestic energy use to address greenhouse gas emissions, while some, like CEI, have pointed to the huge economic costs that would result — costs that would be paid for by consumers and in terms of reduced manufacturing and jobs.  Few have noted a further economic consequence — the possible disruption of the world trading system because of the bill’s endorsement of carbon border taxes on imports from countries that don’t have an energy-repressive regime.  Here’s what CEI’s Iain Murray has to say about that:

The bill as drafted clears the way for carbon protectionism.  It envisages “rebates” to companies that have to pay higher costs than their international competitors, which amounts to illegal state aid under WTO rules.  Further, it directs the President to institute what is laughably called a ‘border adjustment’ program requiring foreign companies to pay for the cost of carbon.  This is nothing more than a tariff aimed at eliminating the competitive advantage of other nations.  Taken together, these provisions represent the first shot in what is likely to prove a disastrous carbon trade war.

Margo Thorning of the American Council for Capital Formation and Bill Kovacs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provide hard and realistic criticism of carbon border taxes in National Journal’s Experts Blogs this week.

Tom April 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

Cap and trade is an unworkable solution for a non existing problem.

This CO2 nonsense is the greatest perversion of science since the 1930 Nazi use of propaganda based on numerous pseudo-truths to support their view of Aryan superiority. Global warming just ain't happnin… How do we know? Well, for starters, it has gotten colder the last ten years in a row. My favorite reason for being a blasphemous denier is this. The increase in CO2 since 1870 (only 1 part in 10,000) sits mostly in an area of the atmosphere within a region bounded by latitudes N30deg to S30deg and an altitude of 8K to 12K. The temperature of this area has been measured by NASA since 1960. The IPCC predicts that this should be heating up faster than other parts of the atmosphere because that is the only portion of the atmosphere where significant man made changes in the gas composition exist. Four IPCC computer models predict this with great detail. And, common sense would lead any thinking human to expect the region with the greatest increase in CO2 to heat up faster than the rest of the atmosphere is CO2 is the cause of global warming. Well, in the words of Johnny Cochran, "if the glove don't fit, we must acquit", because that is not happening. The CO2 is there, but the IR heat being reflected off the surface of the earth is absorbed completely by water vapor and other gases before it ever reaches the CO2 in the upper Troposphere. One Scientist, Dr. Hienz Hugg, has duplicated this in a lab experiment where he uses a spectrometer to measure heat in two artificial atmospheres – one with CO2 levels of near today 357 ppm and the other at twice that with water vapor set at 2.5%. The result, almost know difference in the amount of energy captured in both atmospheres. This really makes sense when one reflects on the fact that CO2 exists at a rate of 4 parts in 10,000 while water vapor exists at a rate of 250 parts in 10000 on averages. And water vapor will absorb much more of the IR spectrum than will CO2.

And, if CO2 was a worry, we could do nothing about it since 93% (EIA number) of the CO2 going into the atmosphere during the next 20 years will come from countries other than the USA – mostly China and India. For us to spend trillions of dollars to lower atmospheric CO2 by roughly .02 ppm per year is really NUTS.

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