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Earth China

Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them 322

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-got-to-do-it,-why-can't-we dept.
mdsolar writes: 'Paul Krugman, who won a Nobel Prize for understanding world trade, has proposed carbon tariffs as a way to get China to cut greenhouse gas emissions. He wrote, "China is enormously dependent on access to advanced-country markets — a lot of the coal it burns can be attributed, directly or indirectly, to its export business — and it knows that it would put this access at risk if it refused to play any role in protecting the planet. More specifically, if and when wealthy countries take serious action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, they're very likely to start imposing "carbon tariffs" on goods imported from countries that aren't taking similar action. Such tariffs should be legal under existing trade rules — the World Trade Organization would probably declare that carbon limits are effectively a tax on consumers, which can be levied on imports as well as domestic production. Furthermore, trade rules give special consideration to environmental protection. So China would find itself with strong incentives to start limiting emissions." As I read it, Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade does indeed allow us to unilaterally impose tariffs on China.'
mdsolar continues, "I'd suggest that there should be a ramped approach. First, we should acknowledge that dangerous climate change has come early and we are already suffering damages. The growth in Federal crop and flood insurance payouts is owing to the effects of climate change. Instead of increasing premiums, we should use climate damage tariffs to cover this increase. That amounts to a pretty small tariff, but it firmly establishes the liability connection. Non-Annex I countries (as listed in the Kyoto Protocol) are becoming the main contributors to cumulative emissions just as climate change has turned dangerous, that makes their emissions the cause of dangerous climate change. An accident of timing? Yes. But deliberately increasing emissions, as China is doing, eliminates safe harbor as well.

This small tariff could be used as a stepping stone to larger tariffs imposed cooperatively with other Annex I countries if China does not turn around. The larger tariffs could be used to assist with adaptation costs in countries with low per capita emissions where vulnerability to dangerous climate change is high. Lack of a clear funding mechanism for this sort of thing has been a sticking point at climate negotiations. This would essentially get funds from those who are causing the damage."
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Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them

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  • Yes, good idea. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @02:26AM (#47189035) Homepage

    That's a good idea. China needs an economic incentive to clean up their air pollution problem. They can certainly do it. It took less than 20 years after the US Clean Air Act to get air pollution under control.

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @04:48AM (#47189323)

      China needs an economic incentive to clean up their air pollution problem.

      I've read the other day that skilled (== in high demand) foreign workers have already started refusing to move into Chinese cities, citing health reasons. They want extra money for health insurance/risk compensation. I'd call that an incentive.

      • by GNious (953874)

        I was contemplating a job-opening in Shanghai, briefly, but decided against it specifically due to health-concerns in relation to the general air-quality.

        Observation: I currenlt live in a European city, with yearly smog-warnings.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      USA and Europe cleaned up their mess by transferring the production to factories that polluted even more, but this time in China. The companies used "agents" and well connected locals to handle the corruption needed to pollute effectively. The local Chinese citizen loved it as long as they got a small part of the money. They did not see the problems at that time.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday June 08, 2014 @05:55AM (#47189465) Homepage

      The EU has been doing this for a long time. RoHS stopped them putting hazardous substances in products just to keep costs down. We already have a scheme for carbon trading that takes into account companies that do their manufacturing in China, although it could go a lot further.

      Nice to see the US finally waking up to this.

      • by sjbe (173966)

        RoHS stopped them putting hazardous substances in products just to keep costs down.

        RoHS isn't really about economics related to production costs. It's primarily about keeping six known toxins [wikipedia.org] out of products, specifically lead, mercury, cadmium, hexvalent chromium, PBB and PBDE. While there is a economic price tag attached, the economic cost of RoHS compliance is pretty minimal in practice. The majority of electronic components sold these days are RoHS compliant already. For most companies the primary cost is in using lead free solder and providing a certificate stating that the produ

      • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @09:40AM (#47189943) Homepage Journal

        The USA only want to put an carbon tax/tariff on foreign products.
        They will look pretty dumb when the 'foreigners' put the same tariffs on US products.
        AFAIK the USA are just a very small bit behind China in CO2 output. That means per inhabitant and also per 'product produced' the USA produce far far far more CO2 than China.
        When we have world wide CO2 based tariffs, the USA will be the first country going 'bankrupt'.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by symbolset (646467) *
          US annual CO2 per capita is three times China. Considering how much of our manufacturing they do, we can probably assign responsibility for some of their carbon output to US end users also. Tariff them? They should tariff us!
    • by gtall (79522)

      While I'm sympathetic to the carbon tax idea, the U.S. Clean Air Act wasn't aimed at carbon pollution. The pollution it did aim at was much easier to control.

      • by mdsolar (1045926)
        The Clean Air Act is controlling carbon emission now. It is the legal basis for increased CAFE standards. Also for new source regulations are just about to go into effect. That is why Kansas is rushing to get in under the wire. http://thinkprogress.org/clima... [thinkprogress.org] And proposed regulations on existing sources came out last Monday which are based on the Clean Air Act.
    • That's a good idea. China needs an economic incentive to clean up their air pollution problem.

      They've already got one. How expensive do you think it is going to be to treat the health problems of over a billion people caused by pollution? They also have a political motivation. The ruling party wants to stay in power and if the people get sufficiently pissed off about the pollution their continued rule might come into question.

      I've been to China. They are WELL aware of the problem. The trick for them is dealing with it without causing massive economic damage in the process of dealing with it. C

    • by jc42 (318812)

      That's a good idea. China needs an economic incentive to clean up their air pollution problem. They can certainly do it. It took less than 20 years after the US Clean Air Act to get air pollution under control.

      Doing this with tariffs might be more difficult than US, EU and UN administrators might think. The Chinese management system (government + industry) has a documented history of faked economic reports [wikipedia.org]. This is due in part to the general practice of promoting/demoting managers based on the production figures from their own areas of control, with little or no independent auditing of the data. The fishing example was documented by outside researchers about 15 years ago, but as the (rather well done "neutral

  • Better idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How about we all stop buying cheap Chinese shit if we care so much?

    • exactly.
    • by tomhath (637240)
      That's the goal of this proposal - turn that cheap shit into expensive shit. Then it will be okay to buy it.
    • I wish I could. ,Where is that domestic produced TV, washer, fridge, computer monitor...

      It's just like George Carlin said in one of his shows when he came in flying a Chinese Flag: "I do this for patriotic reasons. It was the only flag I could find that was Made in the U.S.A."

      • by dk20 (914954)
        Not an american, but this is among the things i find more troubling. Many tend to be very patriotic and proudly wave the flag everywhere. Said flag bearing item is almost always "made in China".
        Open challenge to anyone living in the US, can you find something with the flag on it and was actually made in the USA (not "finally assembly in the US" or "printed in the US").
        Why on earth would you patriotically wear something "Made in China"?
  • The prize is in honor of Nobel since Nobel did not institute a prize in economics. It was awarded in 2008 for Integrating the previously disparate research fields into a new, international trade and economic geography. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobe... [nobelprize.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nobel did institute a prize for economics, and the other social studies. It is called "Nobel prize for literature".
    • Nobel prizes are often handed out for being "first" rather for being "right" or "most knowledgeable". In some cases, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
  • Soooooo.... we tax ourselves to make China change? Because that's what's being proposed. Tariffs are passed straight through to the buyers of the products. We we're raising prices on imported goods, to change the behavior of the manufacturers, who will still take in the same revenue. As long as domestic manufacturing remains more expensive than the imports plus tariffs, we will still be buying the imported goods, just paying more for them and funneling the extra money back to the federal government.
    • by mdsolar (1045926) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @02:45AM (#47189077) Homepage Journal
      Correct. But industry in the US would pick up, leading to more domestic prosperity. Without the tariff, China gets to lower costs of production and compete unfairly, reducing US GDP. Note also that we are paying this in increased flood and crop insurance premiums. The latter directly cuts into the competitiveness of our agricultural exports. Better to pay with external tariffs than internal premiums.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        LOL, "unfairly"? China's per capita emissions are lower than Europe and the US, what alternative reality do you Americans live in? You Americans are so out of touch reality we wonder what's going to happen to you guys when your own shit finally hits your own fan.

        Forget about lower prices, once the dollar collapses and the US loses the ability to print money like psycho and make the rest of the world suffer for it, the price of oil will double overnight in the US, which instantly makes everything else more e

        • by fnj (64210)

          ... US loses the ability to print money ...

          Thanks for the laugh to brighten the day. We have forgotten how to make steel or any consumer goods whatsoever, but somehow I doubt we'll forget how to print money, or run out of ink or special paper.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, it will make goods made in Korea, Japan, Thailand more competitive. ALSO, it will encourage Apple, IBM, Dell, HP etc etc to consider what is happening as it will increase to the cost of their goods, so they will be putting pressure on the Chinese government too.

      On the other side, if nothing is done you will pay more for insurances, more for food and everything else in your life.

      Climate change does not stop for people who don't believe in it, the insurance companies believe its going to impact them so th

    • I actually think that's a good thing.

      The "disposable economy" will currently live in causes a lot of domestic waste, not to mention the havoc it wrecks on domestic employment.

      Yes, we'll buy less widgets. But in return employment rates will rise, and we'll shift to higher-quality merchandise.

      It's one thing to buy a poor-quality product when the competition is twice the price. It's another thing when the price difference is only 25%.

    • depends... it could effectively allow more domestic production.

    • by Misagon (1135) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @03:08AM (#47189157)

      You could also see it this way:
      You would be taxing away the competitive advantage that companies in a polluting country would have against companies in those who restricts its carbon emissions.

      In the short term, it would promote domestic business. In the long term, the polluting country is supposed to lower its emissions and get back in the game, and then both foreign and domestic companies should be able to compete on the same terms - creating more competition and again lower prices.

      • You would be taxing away the competitive advantage that companies in a polluting country would have against companies in those who restricts its carbon emissions.

        You are presuming that China would/could not tax US products equally in return. US companies want to do business in China. Ford and GM sell a lot of cars there for example. If the US (hypocritically) imposed a carbon tax on China then China would be virtually certain to impose on on US goods in return. Rather than cooperatively work together on the problem we would hurting both economies with a trade war that in the end would be very unlikely to solve the root problem.

        In the short term, it would promote domestic business.

        No it would not - at least not in t

    • Manufacturers will still take the same revenue per unit sold, but they would sell fewer units with higher prices. Now, if the tariff is sufficiently high, it will make it more cost effective for the manufacturers to start using different manufacturing techniques that allow them to dodge or at least significantly reduce the tariff, bringing the price down compared to doing nothing.

      • Manufacturers will still take the same revenue per unit sold, but they would sell fewer units with higher prices.

        VERY unlikely and grossly oversimplifying the issue. I'm guessing you aren't actually in manufacturing. I run a manufacturing company. Manufacturers are very often not able to pass on cost increases to customers. The biggest product my company sells goes into some GM cars. If our costs go up, we have very limited ability to pass on that price increase to our customer. The customer in this case could decide to either take production in house or to find an alternative source. They buy it from us becaus

    • by mvdwege (243851)

      Tariffs are passed straight through to the buyers of the products.

      No. If importers could pass on the cost of the tariffs with impunity, then they could have sold at higher prices already and pocketed the difference as profit. Since they do not do so now, there is a strong indication that their competitive position means they can't.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @08:15AM (#47189733)

      This sort of reminds me of a Monty Python sketch about who to tax:

      "I think we should tax foreigners living abroad", and "I think we should tax people standing in puddles of water."

      The point being, that everyone thinks that problems can be solved by taxing someone else.

    • Your problem being?

      YOU are responsible for that pollution if you buy a product that caused the pollution during its production. So YOU should pay for it.

    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      Soooooo.... we tax ourselves to make China change? Because that's what's being proposed. Tariffs are passed straight through to the buyers of the products.

      That's right. What we should be doing is subsidizing China's industries - that way stuff will be even cheaper.

      The problem is that China is subsidizing manufacturing, and for all the bluff and bluster and umbrage, those cheap goods we are buying under the guise of the free market, are subsidizing crypto-communist Capitalism. And the immense irony is that it becomes a weapon against us. Done in the right manner, it can destroy the economics of another country. All the while we sit and preen ourselves, con

  • by mdsolar (1045926) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @02:36AM (#47189061) Homepage Journal
    I'd suggest that there should be a ramped approach. First, we should acknowledge that dangerous climate change has come early and we are already suffering damages. The growth in Federal crop and flood insurance payouts is owing to the effects of climate change. Instead of increasing premiums, we should use climate damage tariffs to cover this increase. That amounts to a pretty small tariff, but it firmly establishes the liability connection. Non-Annex I countries (as listed in the Kyoto Protocol) are becoming the main contributors to cumulative emissions [ipcc-wg3.de] just as climate change has turned dangerous, that makes their emissions the cause of dangerous climate change. An accident of timing? Yes. But deliberately increasing emissions, as China is doing, eliminates safe harbor as well.

    This small tariff could be used as a stepping stone to larger tariffs imposed cooperatively with other Annex I countries if China does not turn around. The larger tariffs could be used to assist with adaptation costs in countries with low per capita emissions where vulnerability to dangerous climate change is high. Lack of a clear funding mechanism for this sort of thing has been a sticking point at climate negotiations. This would essentially get funds from those who are causing the damage."
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Non-Annex I countries (as listed in the Kyoto Protocol) are becoming the main contributors to cumulative emissions [ipcc-wg3.de] just as climate change has turned dangerous, that makes their emissions the cause of dangerous climate change.

      Maybe it's just late, but can you to link directly to your source (pdf?) and maybe throw in a page reference for good measure

      The larger tariffs could be used to assist with adaptation costs in countries with low per capita emissions where vulnerability to dangerous climate change is high.

      China's per capita emissions are lower than Europe (as a whole and many individual countries) and much lower than the USA.
      I don't think per capita is the measure you want to be using.

    • The fact remains that the bulk of the excess CO2 that is already there was put there by the West, in particular the US. It's good that you guys are starting to get your shit together but considering your track record of opposition, it's a bit early to start lecturing other countries.
      • by mdsolar (1045926)
        In fact, no. This was one of the interesting findings of the IPCC WGIII report. cumulative emissions from non-Annex 1 countries are taking over those from Annex 1 countries. The crossover has probably already happened.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @02:44AM (#47189073)

    Your reading of GATT is not applicable. China falls under MFN, and tarrifs based on carbon emissions generally fall under "special interest protectionist measures", which means that they are not applicable.

    In reality, implementing this would either require revocation of MFN status for China by the U.S., or modification to GATT. Modification to GATT would require a unanimous vote in the WTO, of which China has been a member since 11 Dec 2001, which means that a modification to GATT is off the table.

    I've suggested that the way to deal with this, and with most of the job threat from offshoring, in fact, was to hold countries supplying products to the same standards that a domestic producer of those products would be held. That would include environmental, labor, and similar standards. This wouldn't address the economic inequity of people being to live for a lot less in China as on the same wages of the U.S., or that products manufactured for markets other than the U.S. market would necessarily meet U.S. standards either. But it would be a step in that direction.

    To deal with any of the other loopholes, such as the "final assembly" loophole, where tarrifs aren't charged if the final assembly occurred within a given economic block, rather than in a foreign economic block (also called the "last major transformation" clause), would require even more work. So companies like Apple could still perform final assembly of Apple products in the Czech Republic, which, as an EU member, means not paying VAT import taxes compared to if they were wholly manufactured in China. Just as companies like GM do in the U.S. with regard to primary engine components for automobiles manufactured in Brazil.

    Practically speaking, there's no way to get rid of all the loopholes without a One World Government(tm), which most people are against (especially the existing governments of nations which would be superseded by such a thing).

    We may be driven there eventually, but we know the real solution to the carbon problem is to move to other sources capable of handling ever increasing base loads - and yeah, that doesn't mean hydroelectric, which endangers fish populations, or unreliable wind, or solar based on the available of solar grade silicon, relative to demand, being rather low.

    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      Pretty sure MFN is part of GATT. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org] NAFTA, on the other hand, might pose a problem.
      • by tlambert (566799)

        Pretty sure MFN is part of GATT. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org] NAFTA, on the other hand, might pose a problem.

        It is. But the (referenced in the original article) analysis by Joost Pauwelyn assumes that MFN treaty provisions regarding not imposing a tariff on China that we don't impose on ALL our other trading partners means that we would either habe to revoke MFN, so that doesn't apply, or change the GATT groundrules in the WTO.

        And yeah, I believe your reading of NAFTA would apply to moving the final assembly factories for Chinese products to the Maquiladoras just over the U.S./Mexico border in order to place them

        • by mdsolar (1045926)
          There is no revocation of MFN. Article XX has environmental exceptions. We can impose tariffs are retaliation is not allowed. China has already agreed to this.
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Screw the World Trade Organization! Nobody elected them; mostly plutocrats put them in place. We should tell them to take a hike.

    • or solar based on the available of solar grade silicon, relative to demand, being rather low.

      What is this? I haven't heard of it. Somehow I got the idea that solar power has been getting cheaper and more economical.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Your reading of GATT is not applicable. China falls under MFN, and tarrifs based on carbon emissions generally fall under "special interest protectionist measures",

      What does that actually mean? Carbon reduction is clearly in the general interest.

      Practically speaking, there's no way to get rid of all the loopholes without a One World Government(tm),

      They're against it because it's a dumb idea. For one, there's no evidence whatsoever that it would get rid of loopholes.

  • How about a tariff on a per capita basis? Especially if we can tax on the amount of resources consumed per person per year. If the cost is not tied to each individual's life style, some people in some countries would continue burning through their huge SUV, while asking everyone else to live a caveman's life.
    • by tlambert (566799)

      How about a tariff on a per capita basis? Especially if we can tax on the amount of resources consumed per person per year. If the cost is not tied to each individual's life style, some people in some countries would continue burning through their huge SUV, while asking everyone else to live a caveman's life.

      Way to make "bombing them back to the stone age" a net economic benefit for the target, dude!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      To illustrate this:

      CO2 per capita (2009) [metric tons]:
      USA 17,2
      China 5,3

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita [wikipedia.org]

      • Population density (/sq mile):

        China: 365
        USA: 84

        Sure the average US-ian produces a lot of CO2, but there are so many more Chinese that they still come out ahead when it comes to the area they cover.

  • So, we have a non-lawyer, discussing a hypothetical situation, in which his understanding of international trade law allows for a hypothetical solution.

    . My hypothetical solution that works even better [youtube.com], cheap fusion for all! Why didn't he ask me?
  • by raymorris (2726007) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @02:50AM (#47189097)

    "China is enormously dependent on access to advanced-country markets". If Americans, for example, didn't have access to BUY goods from China, a lot of our inexpensive consumer goods would cost quite a bit more. Cables for electronics, lightbulbs, trash cans, trailer hitches, and a million other things would cost alot more to produce domestically. Therefore, cutting ourselves off from China would mean we could afford to buy less - we'd all become poorer, in terms of purchasing power. In that way, we're nearly as dependant on China as they are on us, are we not?

    Krugan certainly knows more about global economics than I do, but he's not shy about the fact that his writings are as much about promoting a liberal agenda as they are about understanding how global markets actually work. His book and blog are both titled The Conscience of a Liberal. Perhaps this proposal is a bit of wishful thinking, of wanting to promote "green", setting aside the fact that we don't really have much leverage over China. Heck, we've been trying for decades to get them to have some respect for basic human rights and we haven't been able to coerce them to do anything on human rights that they didn't want to do. They've been quite bold with claiming territory and sending warships to places they ought not be, so they don't seem to think the western countries have any leverage to rebuke them.

    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      We can put tariffs on their imports, but they can not put tariffs on our exports. Our balance of trade improves and out buying power gets a boost from that. More jobs, better pay. We may have to make some of the stuff we invented ourselves. The Pacific Northwest is an excellent place to manufacture without greenhouse gas emissions. States with access to Hydro Quebec power could also expand manufacturing cleanly.
      • > without greenhouse gas emissions. States with access to Hydro

        Methane, which hydroelectric dams produce thousands of tons of, is a much worse greenhouse gas than CO2. You do go hydroelectric to protect the atmosphere, you do it because it'll never run out. Natural gas is a better choice in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. See ex Fearnside for details, or International Rivers links to good to sources of detailed info. (International Rivers is not objective, but they link to reliable sources).

        • Typo. That should read "you don't go hydroelectric to protect the atmosphere, you go hydro because it is renewable". Hydro is probably worse for global warming than natural gas. Naturally gas will eventually run out, though.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @04:06AM (#47189249) Journal

      Krugan certainly knows more about global economics than I do, but he's not shy about the fact that his writings are as much about promoting a liberal agenda as they are about understanding how global markets actually work.

      Not understanding global markets indeed.
      Neither Krugman nor mdsolar seem to mention that China has the world's 2nd largest (by trading volume) carbon market.
      And that's just their pilot program.

      You'd think that since these two care so much about the issue, they'd follow the news:
      China's Chongqing to launch carbon market trading on June 13 [reuters.com]
      Thursday Jun 5, 2014

      The southwestern city of Chongqing will be the seventh region in China to launch carbon trading when its market opens on June 13, the local carbon exchange said Thursday, in a move designed to curb the city's greenhouse gas emissions.

      The market is the last of China's planned pilot CO2 markets ahead of the launch of a nationwide scheme later this decade as the world's biggest-emitting nation steps up efforts to slow down rapid emissions growth.

      China is already moving in the right direction and a hard cap is definitely in their future....
      If for no other reason than China is planning to increase its nuclear power production by more than an order of magnitude over the next 10~15 years.
      If everything goes to plan, China will be producing more nuclear power than #1 and #2 (USA & France) combined.

      Proposing a carbon tariff seems like a big middle finger to a government that is pouring tens of billions into solar, wind, and nuclear power.
      (Did I mention that China is #1 in wind power?)

      • by Splab (574204)

        Not only that, but how about cleaning up your own yard before yelling at the neighbour? The US has been adamant about doing anything about pollution and unlike China, they aren't heavily investing in sustainable energy.

      • China is already moving in the right direction and a hard cap is definitely in their future....

        The industrialized countries that do the most to protect the environment are also the ones with the strongest, healthiest economies. Trying to weaken China's economy to reduce their carbon emissions is a backward step. As you stated, they are fully aware of their pollution problems and are actually doing a lot of this to improve.

        These simple "tax them" proposals are for the simple minded ones that don't consider all the resulting impacts. You can't just choose to tariff China without doing the same for o

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Carbon trading is bullshit. It's just a means to excuse emissions for which there is no excuse. Carbon credits could be legitimate, but only in a system absent of carbon trading. No one promoting carbon trading actually wants a solution to the carbon problem.

    • I find it rather strange that you are inferring that Krugman's proposal is merely liberal wishful thinking, or "promoting a liberal agenda," when there are numerous fiscal conservatives who would love nothing more than to level the playing field with respect to domestic versus foreign manufacturing. The dirty little secret, though, is that those fiscal conservatives are the blue-collar workers who've been squeezed out of jobs, not the ones who actually run the GOP political machine. The latter are what we

  • The facts? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rick in China (2934527) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @03:19AM (#47189183)
    China produces more TW-h per year than any other country at this point in time. There is already a HUGE effort in China to improve on that further. This is a nonsensical piece, the US is still the world's leader in terms of human waste production and CO2 emissions *per person* - I'm not sure what the political/fearmongering purpose behind this is but I'm sure there is one.
    • Re:The facts? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by retroworks (652802) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @08:19AM (#47189745) Homepage Journal

      Mod parent up. This is a silly idea. Yes, the Non-OECD growth in carbon emmissions is growing enormously. But the non-OECD still has LESS CO per unit of production than the OECD. In other words, a carbon tax would benefit China production from the start. Plus, over time, China's already investing a lot more in CO free energy (as a percentage of GDP) than the OECD is. http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/i... [eia.gov]. Trade agreements don't allow WTO members to apply rules specifically against a certain member, they apply to all members, and the West still produces more CO per capita

      Obesity too is increasing in China. But if you tax obesity, you aren't going to advantage western countries. .

  • and possibly actual war... they are building up in the south china sea for a take over of basically everything that isn't nailed down.

    I don't know if this will help that situation.

    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      China has already agreed to GATT and Article XX. This is a way to get things fixed peacefully.
      • Good luck with that. What the chinese say they agree to and what they don't retaliate for in various ways are two very different things.

  • Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Evil Atheist (2484676) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @03:43AM (#47189219) Homepage
    Why should China, or any developing country, give up its own economic development when the currently developed and powerful countries didn't have to and because they lack the political will do their part? Developed countries should see this as an opportunity to make money from China by selling them back cleaner technology that the developed countries invent.

    It's bollocks to say "well, we already have a developed economy and we're too scared to change anything, so we'll make you live by the sink or float rules that we impose on you because we can".
    • Why should China, or any developing country, give up its own economic development

      It shouldnt, and no one is asking it to. We are asking China to stop polluting though. I live in west coast, and a lot of our air pollution comes from China. It is not unresonable to ask China to stop. It doesnt even have to affect their economic development if done right.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Why should China, or any developing country, give up its own economic development when the currently developed and powerful countries didn't have to and because they lack the political will do their part? Developed countries should see this as an opportunity to make money from China by selling them back cleaner technology that the developed countries invent.

      Because it's not us and them any more. We need each other, and a lot of the stuff being manufactured in China is western companies outsourcing production anyway. If the western companies decide to pollute less their factories and the factories of the companies they contract to build their stuff will clean up.

      As it happens China is actually pushing hard to clean up anyway. It will take a long time, but they are making far more effort than the US. The EU has really helped here, with things like RoHS and CE ma

    • Does China currently have any incentive to buy the cleaner technology? Upgrading would cost money and even for new factories the new tech is probably going to be more expensive then what they currently use.
      In fact implementing this tariff could be the thing that convinces them to start buying the cleaner tech.

      • It does, because its own citizens are complaining about the environment more and more. Say what you like about the CCP, and I know bloody well I do, but they're deathly afraid of losing control. When pollution gets too bad, there will be riots. Actually, given the previous arrests of environmental activists in China, you can tell they're really keeping an eye on it.

        Upgrading would cost money, but you have to think more creatively doing business with the Chinese. Each province has its own interests and yo
      • Does China currently have any incentive to buy the cleaner technology?

        Sure they do. Same incentives we have. Pollution has very big health care costs, food supply costs, and if it goes on long enough, climate change costs. There are quality of life incentives. There are political incentives too - if enough people get upset enough about the pollution it can become a threat to the ruling party. The Chinese are acutely aware of the problem. It's just harder to deal with than you seem to think.

        In fact implementing this tariff could be the thing that convinces them to start buying the cleaner tech.

        China has more poor people than the entire population of any country in the world

  • by... anyone? Anyone? That's right, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act... Let's just destroy the global economy for the sake of the world, shall we?
    • A tariff will not destroy the world economy (unless you're of Ayn Rand persuasion). A massive drought on a global scale just might, though.

    • by Tailhook (98486)

      The reason the US has zero tariffs on nearly all finished goods is that we use trade status as leverage to push various and sundry agenda on foreign nations — bases in Okinawa, drug wars in Mexico and Columbia, "human rights" ... or something ... in China, etc. — not some sacred truth learned from Smoot-Hawley.

      Many Western nations have significant tariffs on imports, Germany being the best example. They've had a rigorous trade regime for decades that limits competition with disposable Asian wor

  • The EU has been taxing imports from non EU countries to protect their own market for decades. The reasoning was that those countries had "unfair advantages" because the EU producers had to deal with strict(er) laws on environment, labor and warranty and such. This lead to the countries that wanted to export trying to find a way to produce even cheaper, making their own environment and labor situations worse than they were already, leading the EU to raise taxes to offset the competition advantage again.

    I'd

  • The growth in Federal crop and flood insurance payouts is owing to...

    The growth in Federal crop insurance payouts is primarily due to the fact that the 2008 Farm Bill introduced federal crop insurance (or at least as it is currently implemented) and that went into effect with the 2014 crop year. So, the rise in federal crop insurance payouts have NOTHING to do with global warming. Second the growth in federal flood insurance payouts is due to the increase in the value of developed properties in flood plains. Federal flood insurance was introduced in 1972. Since that time, largely as a result of federal flood insurance, there has been a steadily increasing trend toward placing expensive structures in the flood plains of the country. This results in the value of the properties being insured increasing, which leads to increased flood insurance payout. There are several other factors which contribute to those increased payouts. All of those factors make the impact of global warming on the amount of those payouts insignificant.

  • by mark_reh (2015546) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @08:44AM (#47189809) Journal

    Let's get our own act together before we try forcing other to do the same.

    That applies equally to carbon emissions and democratic elections. We produce about 3X as much CO2 per capita as China, but we're going to try to tell them how not to spoil the air we breathe? Our elections are a joke- held periodically to give the general populace the illusion of living in a democracy, yet we send advisers and observers to other countries to tell them how to do it right.

    It's no wonder the rest of the world hates Americans.

  • by KramberryKoncerto (2552046) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @10:46AM (#47190141)

    So there would soon be no more sweatshops for corporate America. Watch your economy crumble.

    Krugman spouts nonsense at times, but this one is appalling. Pollution in China involves a lot of forces, including the `clean' countries, acting in their own interests and he can't possibly fail to understand that. Neither the Chinese government nor the US corporations would like such a change. The root of the problem is that some people like to earn money by messing up the world.

    This proves he's just a propaganda mouthpiece, to help the US make a handsome profit from polluting activities around the world, while shedding every single bit of responsibility.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @10:59AM (#47190177) Journal
    This should not be directed at China but all nations and states.
    Basically, America can solve this since we are the world's largest importer. But it needs to be done right.
    First, we can not go with estimates. They are mostly in non-western nations. So use oco2 to measure the co2 flow in and out of nations. This way nations are not held responsible for others pollution.

    Second, it needs to be normalized. Doing it per person is a joke. Instead, u want the tax to be based on co2 / $ of GDP. IOW, you want nations to grow, but u want the to do it efficiently.

    Third, it is then applied as a VAT upon a whole seller selling to the retailer. Full tax is charged, unless the item is submitted to web app in which parts are described and where from. If u make to good in a nation like Sweden or costa Rica where emissions are low, then no tax.

    Fourth, all delivery systems like FedEx that imported have to collect the tax. They can add some amount more to cover their costs.
  • It would appear that Krugman wants to do all he can to promote every possible cluster-fuck to deepen and worsen the current depression, including attacking world trade with his rehash of the Smoot-Hawley tariff.

    -jcr

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