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Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the you-got-to-do-it,-why-can't-we dept.

Earth 322

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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Yes, good idea. (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#47189035)

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.

Rights tariffs, then? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189103)

The USA knows full well it is violating its constitution, its founding charter, left and right. Let's impose tariffs!!! That'll teach 'em!

Oh. Wait. No it won't. No more than it taught all those Arab countries where the little people got to starve for the sins of the wealthy class.

So fuck you, Krugman, and your Nobel prize, too. It's always some relatively well off piece of shit that is willing to crush the livelihood of the lowest segments of the population "for their own good."

I vote we put Krugman to work for a bowl of rice a day for a month or so, and then take it away until the US reforms its behavior. He might learn something. Of course, he'll starve, but hey - it's for his own good!

Re:Rights tariffs, then? (4, Informative)

ixuzus (2418046) | about 4 months ago | (#47189283)

Uh, you do understand we're talking about tariffs, not sanctions, right? Sanctions are generally restrictions on trade and/or financial transactions. I suspect Iraq is the example you're thinking of. Tariffs are simply are tax on export. or (more commonly) imports. I honestly don't know where sanctions stand constitutionally in the United States but any argument that tariffs are unconstitutional is utter crap. Pretty much the first piece of major legislation passed after the introduction of the constitution was the Tariffs Act.

Re:Rights tariffs, then? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47189335)

These are no tariffs, that's just putting a price tag on externalities - probably something we should have done ages ago.

Re:Yes, good idea. (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Yes, good idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189589)

In the early 00's expats in Beijing would get

  • an extra two weeks holiday
  • payment of all expenses for that holiday to a location of their choice in east asia
  • pay about 30% higher than other locations

Nothing changed. In fact things have got worse. Basically the rich and powerful find ways not to suffer from the discomfort and the poor and week can do nothing to fix it. This is the reason that non-democratic countries inevitably fail.

Re:Yes, good idea. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189429)

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.

Re:Yes, good idea. (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47189465)

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.

Re:Yes, good idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189495)

It took less than 20 years after the US Clean Air Act to get air pollution under control.

The average American still contributes much more to climate change than the average Chinese. You are still the prime offenders, together with a few other terrorist nations like Canada or Australia. Sure, you are keeping your local air pollution under control, because you care about yourselves, but greenhouse gas emissions are still going strong, at the expense of everybody else on the planet.

Re:Yes, good idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189517)

China may have an air pollution problem, but CO2 is not pollution.

You are taxing the wrong thing if you think carbon dioxide is damaging the environment. There are much worse things which should be addressed first.

Better idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189043)

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

That's the idea (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189123)

exactly.

Re:Better idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189191)

People don't give a shit. Some things can NOT be solved voluntarily, because most individuals are morons who can't be arsed.
Yes, I'm an elitist asshole and a "statist". I'm also right.

Re:Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189387)

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

What? Then we'd have to actually _wash_ out T-shirts that we buy in bulk for 1.99, instead of throwing them away, which means we would have to buy a Chinese washing machine.

Better idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189421)

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

But the bottom dollar will always trump morals.

How many people do you know who complain about Walmart or China? How many of these people actually abstain from buying things there?

It's easy to criticize these countries or corporations, but when you can get your products there for half the price of the mom-and-pop store, guess where you're gonna go shopping?

Re:Better idea (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#47189485)

That's the goal of this proposal - turn that cheap shit into expensive shit. Then it will be okay to buy it.

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences (2)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189047)

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:The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Science (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189189)

Nobel did institute a prize for economics, and the other social studies. It is called "Nobel prize for literature".

Re:The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Science (0, Flamebait)

Apotekaren (904220) | about 4 months ago | (#47189263)

Exactly. For example, every time Krugman gets involved in a debate about the banking sector, it becomes clear why he got the award. The Honorary Nobel Prize he got was handed to him by the head honchos at the Swedish Central Bank, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when his views are heavily leaned towards a more finance sector friendly Keynesian way of thinking.

So trying to boost his credibility with this "Nobel Prize" will only work on people who don't know what kind of a rigged anti-prize it is.

Re: False: Sveriges Riksbank Prize (4, Informative)

elwinc (663074) | about 4 months ago | (#47189561)

Exactly. For example, every time Krugman gets involved in a debate about the banking sector, it becomes clear why he got the award. The Honorary Nobel Prize he got was handed to him by the head honchos at the Swedish Central Bank, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when his views are heavily leaned towards a more finance sector friendly Keynesian way of thinking.

So trying to boost his credibility with this "Nobel Prize" will only work on people who don't know what kind of a rigged anti-prize it is.

Absolutely false. The Riksbank gets its authority from the Swedish Parliament. [europa.eu]

As you can see in this photo, Krugman is being handed his Nobel by King Carl XVI Gustaf [finfacts.ie] who is a strictly ceremonial head of state. [wikipedia.org] The King may be a customer of the bank, but he isn't a honcho at the bank; Parliament controls it.

However, figurehead Carl XVI Gustaf has no say in who gets the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences; that is decided by this group of professors. [nobelprize.org] Not the Sveriges Riksbank at all. Yeah, I know, you've got a conspiracy theory to explain why all these professors are puppets of a bank. Bullshit.

I just don't get why people post lies on the internet that are so easily checked on the internet. Makes no sense dude; for a ten second chuckle, you've branded yourself a liar in the Slashdot community. Where's the win in that?

Paul Krugman (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189055)

"Paul Krugman, who won a Nobel Prize for understanding world trade"

Like, whoa dude.

Re:Paul Krugman (1, Flamebait)

JDAustin (468180) | about 4 months ago | (#47189209)

That's former Enron advisor Paul Krugman....

Re:Paul Krugman (2)

fche (36607) | about 4 months ago | (#47189607)

There are few problems for which the former enron adviser's solution is not more government or more taxes.

Who is being taxed, exactly? (1)

mpoulton (689851) | about 4 months ago | (#47189057)

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.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (4, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189077)

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:Who is being taxed, exactly? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189379)

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 expensive.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189461)

It's even more ridiculous when you consider China would have signed Kyoto if it wasn't for the US refusing to sign it. Now that China has shown itself a formidable opponent they pretend to care about the environment... but only outside their borders. I doubt anything will come of it, though, as it'd cost a pretty penny to many big corporations and they're the ones who decide everything in the end.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189601)

Their entire emissions, as a political entity, are greater than those of the USA or Europe. We have to deal with them as a political entity, not as a "per-capita" entity, because it's the political entity that makes the decisions as to industry, emissions, export policy, etc, etc, etc.

Australia has one of, if not the highest, per-capita rates of greenhouse gas emissions - but it's only a small (~2% IIRC) part of global emissions. We should do something about it, obviously, but does anyone think that reducing Australia's emissions to African "per-capita" levels will really do any good, in the global scheme of things.

Deal with the country's emissions, not the per-capita emissions. India and China will have a greater effect on global emissions, from their political/economic decisions - positive or negative, than nearly any other country.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189091)

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 they are already increasing insurances to cover the expected costs. This will be passed onto consumers wether they believe or not.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (-1, Troll)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47189171)

This is why mandating insurance coverage by law turns it into tyranny. Let people face the music.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47189205)

So let me get this straight, you are saying that if we do nothing about climate change, costs are going to increase some unknown amount naturally so we need to artificially increase costs with a known amount to combat it? Do I have that correct?

How about instead of playing five knuckle shuffle while attempting to funnel more money into the government coffers we instead look at ways to sequester the carbon emissions and perhaps replace them with naturally economically viable solutions?

The entire idea behind cap and trade is to restrict usage and it hits the poor the worse. I mean seriously, all the regulations and mandated emissions crap (which is mostly a good idea BTW) on cars has increased the cost of purchasing a new one by about 1/3 from between 1967 and 2001. Who can afford new cars more easily? The rich and well off people. Who buys used cars that they are tired of driving? The poor. The same will be had with cheap imports that the poor rely on. This is a real problem because the amount of poor people seem to be increasing. But it is nothing new, take the tobacco taxes. They determined tobacco was addictive and bad for you so they tax it to fund things because you won't quit and they know there will be a source of revenue. Except you should pay because smoking is bad M'Kay. And most of the smokers are poor.

So lets stop trying to Rube Goldberg money to the government and actually find ways to make clean energy naturally competitive and sequester emissions instead of saying fuck the poor, we are doing this for your own good because the government wants more money.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (1)

james_gnz (663440) | about 4 months ago | (#47189423)

How about instead of playing five knuckle shuffle while attempting to funnel more money into the government coffers we instead look at ways to sequester the carbon emissions and perhaps replace them with naturally economically viable solutions?

Governments could put more money into research, but it would still have to come from somewhere (not that I'm saying this is necessarily a bad idea, but I think it's a false dichotomy).

The entire idea behind cap and trade is to restrict usage and it hits the poor the worse.

Yes, but everything hits the poor worse. If food prices rise as a result of increasing crop failures, this would hit the poor worse too.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47189541)

Governments could put more money into research, but it would still have to come from somewhere (not that I'm saying this is necessarily a bad idea, but I think it's a false dichotomy).

It's not a false dichotomy. Just because I present only one or two options does not in any way preclude other options. I just gave an alternative that actually makes some sense as apposed to the give government money and magically it will all get better plan being offered here. You may have other ideas that make fucking sense too. The government already has money that could be spent on these types of things yet they are not doing it. All it will end up being spent on is more spying on citizens and a military style police force for ever department under the government like it currently is.

Yes, but everything hits the poor worse. If food prices rise as a result of increasing crop failures, this would hit the poor worse too.

reread what you just wrote. "if" if a powerful word there. If the dog didn't stop to shit, he would have caught the rabbit. If the rabbit didn't stop to shit, the dog never would have caught him. Of course in both those scenarios, if is just a guess because there is no reason to believe anything would be true in the inverse (the dog catching the rabbit or the rabbit escaping capture) outside of knowing where a given failure currently is.

Well, food prices may or may not go up. You simply do not know and it will not be over night if it did unless it was purposely manipulated to do so. In the US, we have what is called a strategic reserve in which our food production was considered to be part of our national security. You may know it better as subsidies in which the government manipulates the markets in order to encourage excess food production so a natural disaster like drought in the south and flooding in the Midwest doesn't cause half the country to start. The excess is put into reserves and eventually either sold to struggling foreign nations at discounts or given as aid if not needed to go back into the US food supply. You can have over 1/4 of the food crops completely wiped out in the US and you will still see more of a fluctuation in prices on the consumer end due to the availability in oil or energy needed to produce, process, and market them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

If food prices rise will not be an issue until well into the future and only if someone manipulates the existing programs or future programs that have stabilized food prices for well over 50 years. And yes, we have had price spikes in food that would have been completely worse if this had not been in place. Today you see specific commodity spikes due to specific weather events mostly and gradual overall increases in food prices due to regulations and oil mostly.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (2)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | about 4 months ago | (#47189109)

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%.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47189135)

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

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 months ago | (#47189147)

Boho.

Polluters get to pay for their pollution?!
(Purchasers of goods and services which require pollution of the planet.)

HOW UNFAIR!

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189585)

here is an idea that will that will likely get me put on an an American 'freedom' watch list someplace. Why don't we make the manufacturers of said products responsible for said pollution costs. ALL of the costs and ALL of the manufactures USA, CHINA and were ever you live. After all they get the profit.

Now before you whine and say that is not fair there wouldn't be any pollution if there wasn't any consumer demand so let the CONSUMER pay for the cleanup. Well that may have been true but these days the companies create a demand for shit where there is no real need of that shit. Plus the consumer does already pay for the clean up of those externalities by taxation.

Finally it would be a good incentive to the product designer\manufacturer to make them 'clean' in order to reap that profit.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (4, Insightful)

Misagon (1135) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189257)

Yes, we would be taxing ourselves, but we would be taxing bad behavior, namely that of buying things which have been manufactured in an environment-unfriendly way. We already "tax" this behavior with regard to things made here, by enforcing domestic environmental protection laws and thereby increasing the cost of domestic products.

The problem with the concept is that it wouldn't really give a competitive advantage to foreign manufacturers who for example generate their own electricity with solar panels. Their products would still be taxed for the environmental damage caused by their competitors in the same country. This acts as a strong disincentive for individual manufacturers to make improvements. Any effect could only come from making foreign countries enact environmental protection laws similar to ours. And like that, such tariffs would never fly.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 months ago | (#47189297)

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.

Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (2)

mvdwege (243851) | about 4 months ago | (#47189447)

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.

How to use Article XX (3, Interesting)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189061)

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."

Re:How to use Article XX (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189085)

How much of your income have you sent to Kiribati? Put your money where your mouth is and leave my money alone. Tariffed goods will cost consumers more. I don't want to pay more unless aligned with the plan "Better Idea" proposes above. Quit buying Chinese crap, their economy will wither and they will burn much less coal.

Re:How to use Article XX (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#47189273)

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.

Re:How to use Article XX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189299)

America still produces far more CO2 per capita than China. You want to slow climate change? Start with yourself! This isn't really about the climate. America is once again trying to push everybody else around for its own gain. What does it take to make an environmentalist out of an SUV driving American? The chance to impose tariffs on China! You fucking hypocrites!

Re:How to use Article XX (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 4 months ago | (#47189573)

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.

Your reading of GATT is not applicable. (5, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Your reading of GATT is not applicable. (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189101)

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

Re:Your reading of GATT is not applicable. (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#47189141)

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 into the free trade zone would work to circumvent any tarrifs we were to establish under GATT/WTO governance as modifications to MFN rules, and/or by revoking MFN status.

This is effectively what I was hinting at when I references the final assembly rules in the EU taking place in the Czech Republic: The NAFTA block of countries, for trade purposes, can be considered analogous to the EU block, except the NAFTA block countries do not enforce between themselves, and while they do enforce against externalities, unlike the EU, there's not a universal policy governing NAFTA block members.

There are actually several other available loopholes that are in common use in Europe, both for exporting taxes at a lower rate -- e.g. make all contracts in the lowest corporate tax country (Ireland), then export them through an EU country (Netherlands) to the Bahamas or other corporate banking friendly climate, since it's an EU member with no costs for doing so, due to its own existing treaties. These loopholes can just as easily be applied within NAFTA (and commonly are, to the extent to which they are applicable), to push the boundaries.

As it stands, however, unless it's done generally, which would hurt the partners who are our partners solely to give them economic aid in exchange for editorial control in some of their internal and external politics, we really can't do it with China given its existing trade status, and (given NAFTA), perhaps not eve were we to strip it of MFN status without political firestorms coming from that.

Re:Your reading of GATT is not applicable. (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189167)

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.

Re:Your reading of GATT is not applicable. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47189111)

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

Re:Your reading of GATT is not applicable. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47189195)

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.

Re:Your reading of GATT is not applicable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189381)

and moreover, "solar grade silicon" is reasonably cheap stuff and getting cheaper all the time. they get all the leftovers from the chip makers which weren't good enough for the foundries.

methinks he's talking out of his nuclear-one-world-solution arse.

who is the journal of astrophysics going to believ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189375)

no offense or nothin, and yeah yeah appeal to authority, but I'm going to have to take the word of the guy with the Nobel Prize in Economics on this one.

Per capita tariff (1)

renzhi (2216300) | about 4 months ago | (#47189075)

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.

Re:Per capita tariff (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#47189083)

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:Per capita tariff (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189177)

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]

Re:Per capita tariff (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 4 months ago | (#47189481)

Yet if you look at chinese cities they look like a bar back in the 1980's around midnight, filled with hazardous air. Their rivers put a bag of Skittles to shame in terms of colors.

Re:Per capita tariff (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 4 months ago | (#47189483)

to many a point on the skittles reference, just do a google image search for "chinese river pollution"

Re:Per capita tariff (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 4 months ago | (#47189489)

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.

Re:Per capita tariff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189543)

I think US should just kill them like sand niggers to reach fair population density.

Proof? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189079)

"First, we should acknowledge that dangerous climate change has come early and we are already suffering damages." [citation needed]

Re:Proof? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189095)

There's no such thing as climate! The Lord God Jesus Christ created the weather and the weather never changes. It's always sunny in Orlando, it's always rainy in Seattle, and it's always snowy in Duluth. So says the Will of The Lord.

Re:Proof? (2)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189117)

http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/... [nasa.gov] " It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small."

That's great (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47189087)

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?

Wishful? Trade is a two-way street, is it not? (3, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Wishful? Trade is a two-way street, is it not? (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189149)

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.

Re:Wishful? Trade is a two-way street, is it not? (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#47189249)

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?)

Re:Wishful? Trade is a two-way street, is it not? (1)

Splab (574204) | about 4 months ago | (#47189413)

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.

Re:Wishful? Trade is a two-way street, is it not? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189425)

gee you think Krugman or someone on his staff doesn't know this?

or hey, maybe one of the editors in the NYT newsroom might have remembered something they ran last week?

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfor... [nytimes.com]

look at the carbon emission trajectories. it is not pretty for China.

http://www.nature.com/nclimate... [nature.com]

(old link, 2013 version is even worse for them)

Re:Wishful? Trade is a two-way street, is it not? (1)

wickerprints (1094741) | about 4 months ago | (#47189253)

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 might think of as corporate fat cats, ultra-wealthy investors, and the already-made men, for whom the consequences of globalization and foreign investment have been a windfall, rather than the ideologues living in Midwest states and the Bible Belt who buy the GOP "fiscal conservative" propaganda so easily that they are led to vote against their own immediate economic interests.

So, one must be led to wonder how such a proposal could even be branded "liberal" or "conservative" at all--unless by "conservative," one only means "creating wealth by manipulating the market," rather than "honest pay for honest labor."

Wishful? Trade is a two-way street, is it not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189463)

Wanna know an easy way for American goods to be cost effective with Chinese goods? Eliminate the minimum wage (and kick out all the Mexicans and secure our borders). This will actually help poor people because A) prices will go down for basics that poor people need, and B) companies will be more willing to hire for jobs which aren't worth minimum wage.

tariffs are cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189129)

the cool thing about tariffs is that no one minds when you impose them to strong-arm policies and trade wars never happen

Re:tariffs are cool (2)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 4 months ago | (#47189159)

Owing to Article XX, retaliatory tariffs are not allowed.

Makes sense, though China civil war sooner (1)

fredness (95020) | about 4 months ago | (#47189181)

There is tremendous pent up frustration with the increasing corrupt and irrelevant government in China. Cracking high tariffs on goods from China likely will put 1000 times more pressure than all of the finger wagging and human rights pep talks the west has made in that last few decades, increasing unrest and civil collapse in China. However the west really likes to look the other way to get low wage / low cost / pro-business manufacturing, so likely tariffs will be lobbied against by US's own global business titans.

Perhaps an NGO / consumer information institution to lead a product labeling campaign so at least consumers of the world can see 'virtual carbon' production cost on product packaging. Then consumers and businesses can more directly make choices about how carbon neutral their supply chain is. Currently there is very little information available on this when purchasing decisions are made in the west.

The facts? (3, Insightful)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 4 months ago | (#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? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189213)

This is a nonsensical piece, the US is still the world's leader in terms of human waste production and CO2 emissions *per person*

Only if you consider a Chinese human as much of a "person" as an American one.

But that theory is not being entertained in the U.S.A. Human rights including privacy are only entertained to American citizens if at all, international courts are not recognized, and international treaties, particularly regarding climate goals, are sabotaged in the interest of maintaining the industry's stream of silver coins to the politicians kissing babies as a sign of their betrayal of them.

It would mean a trade war (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47189197)

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.

Re:It would mean a trade war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189265)

We're already in a trade war, and getting our asses handed to us trying to compete with disposable workers and unregulated industrial production.

Not everyone in the US is a doctor or web programmer.

It is amusing to see some libtards discover a new love for tariffs, however. Long after we've crippled our industrial base and ruined the working class with limitless foreign competition the left suddenly notices that all they've done by feathering their EPA nest while simultaneously precluding even modest limits on imports crying "oh noes trade war" is cause industry to evacuate into the arms of Chinese mercantilists that give zero fucks for the environment.

So fuck you and your "trade war." And our nuclear arsenal is just as capable of eradicating the Chinese as it was the Soviets. So fuck your "actual war" bullshit too.

Re:It would mean a trade war (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47189319)

Its hard to have a reasonable discussion with someone when they assume so much about what position and then dismiss you before you elaborate.

As to the chinese trade war... you may be correct that they've been in trade war with us. We've seen similar things over time. That said, we also do a lot of dumping on the market as well. Mostly with food but there are probably other things as well.

Anyway, I'd like to avoid a trade war if possible because I think we're getting closer to an actual war with the chinese. And that's a war that would really hurt us.

Even if both sides refrained from striking their respective homelands and kept the whole thing between navies in the pacific... it would be very very expensive.

The US is ever so slowly losing the ability to project its power as its military budget is reduced. That's simply a fact. Now we could increase that budget but then we'd have to cut something else.

We can't get anyone to cut the entitlements. In fact, they keep getting increased. So that means the US is done as an international power. Over.

The US should rather start winding down its operations to avoid an embarrassing war that claims american lives to no purpose.

The ONLY way the US is going to be able to engage internationally is if it can balance its budget.

If we can't do that then we're a banana republic. End of story.

Why don't we (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189199)

Sell them some coal without any carbon in it ?

Bollocks (4, Insightful)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about 4 months ago | (#47189219)

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".

Re:Bollocks (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 4 months ago | (#47189441)

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.

Re:Bollocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189521)

I live in west coast, and a lot of our air pollution comes from China. It is not unresonable to ask China to stop.

I hope you are aware that an average American still pollutes many times more than an average Chinese national. What's more, the very reason why it is so hard to curb pollution, is because the USA have worked very hard to enforce "economic freedoms" often against the will of the locals - such that it is now nearly impossible to enforce a ban on pollution. Besides, such a ban would likely impact the USA much more than the Chinese, if done fairly.

And now you dare complain that your air gets polluted by China. You had it coming.

Re:Bollocks (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47189497)

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 markings becoming selling points that China has bought in to.

Re:Bollocks (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 4 months ago | (#47189505)

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.

The Great Depression was made longer and deeper (1)

zephvark (1812804) | about 4 months ago | (#47189245)

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?

Re:The Great Depression was made longer and deeper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189279)

Fuck the world, longer and deeper. Great Recession until the end of time.

Re:The Great Depression was made longer and deeper (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 months ago | (#47189305)

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.

Re:The Great Depression was made longer and deeper (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about 4 months ago | (#47189339)

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 workers and unregulated industry. This is a major reason they still have a healthy working class, a fully funded welfare state and enough disposable wealth to prop up a continent full of deadbeat PIIGS.

But keep chanting Smoot-Hawley if you want. The trade pendulum has swung so far to one side that it has got to swing back the other way at least a little, so you and your fellow Smoot-Hawley chanters are going to lose this argument in the long run. Now that the libtards and their St. Krugman are on the case it's going to be soon too.

Re:The Great Depression was made longer and deeper (1)

james_gnz (663440) | about 4 months ago | (#47189397)

It's a trade-off (so to speak). Whether or not it's a good idea depends on what the comparison is between the costs that would be caused by tariffs and the costs that would be avoided by tariffs.

LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189259)

1. AGW is a fraud.
2. China OWNS the US (At least the people actually in charge of it).

Lower labor taxes as a result (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189281)

This will allow a move to tax to energy consumption instead of labor, while staying competitive.

I'm all for it: a win for the environment, and a win for employment in EU and US.

Stop treating China like a third world country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189343)

This is the height of hypocrisy. China is putting landers on the moon, we should not have to fix their emissions for them. Oh, and the Chinese have become the largest consumer market for luxury goods.

http://www.businessinsider.com/china-future-luxury-goods-market-2012-7?op=1

Somehow I think we're getting scammed.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Wizardess (888790) | about 4 months ago | (#47189355)

This sounds SO good, clean, and to the point. But there are holes in this picture.

But, what could possibly go wrong?

For example, what does the world do if China turns around and hurriedly constructs a hundred Chernobyl style reactors for power?

I'm surprised nobody (moderated high enough to matter) here has asked that obvious question. This is simply an application of the general rule that no good deed goes unpunished or the old cliche about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions.

So, yes, I really am wondering, "What could possibly go wrong?" I wonder because as a pessimist I figure the worst possible thing will go wrong if you apply a nuclear weapon to digging a hole in the ground.

{^_^}

Not just carbon (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 4 months ago | (#47189377)

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 say tax foreign manufacturers for not adhering to the standards you hold your producers to locally. That way, if something was manufactured with the same competitive rules as you hold your own to, there wouldn't be a tax and the manufacturers *and* your local economy would be trying to implement the measures you want them to take as efficient and fast as possible, just to gain a competitive advantage. You want your iPhone to be produced by people that don't jump off buildings? You don't want to send your rice and soy to poor countries because they can't afford to feed themselves? Tax them for not improving their standards of living and environment, not for producing cheap. The benefit of this is that your local competition will stop lobbying for higher import taxes but for stricter rules that they already can comply to and boost local innovation into greener, people friendly solutions instead of outsourcing as much as they can to cheap countries and trying to find holes in legislation to get away with it.

Dumbest smart guy ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189453)

"Such tariffs should be legal under existing trade rules â" the World Trade Organization would probably declare that carbon limits are effectively a tax on consumers"

5 seconds of googling revealed that they are not legal under existing trade rules, and that WTO would NOT declare they are a proxy tax, because WTO does not subscribe to the consumer proxy doctrine.

Stop buying their shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189459)

Seems easy enough.

China's putting us to shame (1)

bigtreeman (565428) | about 4 months ago | (#47189491)

A tariff collected in the importing country doesn't contribute to China's efforts to install more solar or wind turbines.
China is currently installing massive amounts of solar and wind generation capacity.
They appreciate future savings and independence from imports.
Solar is cheaper now because it is made in China.

Just look at Australia's dumb government, a pack of climate change doubters.
Going backwards on carbon trading, undoing incentives to install green energy.

LOL at 'Greenhouse gases' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47189537)

Presumably the idiot who wrote this article is referring to ONE gas, carbon dioxide, not 'gases'. Secondly, there is no such thing as 'man-made catastrophic global warming', which is why they renamed it 'climate change', which obviously ISN'T the same thing at all, since it's a stupid, meaningless term, as the climate is always changing.

Are you sick of this nonsense yet?

www.climatedepot.com

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