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Get mean to get green

By Owen Paine on Monday October 19, 2009 03:01 PM

From Owen's annals of Uncle Dollar's mighty easy trade-switch road toward a greener earthly production platform: call it simple import substitution.

Method: a savage process-specific carbon content tax. On imports only? No -- not necessary. Slap it on domestic production too. Just set the levy at the right point to close the import door with relative tax cost barriers. Uncle's domestic plants are already greener in steel production than the People's Republic -- so why not slap a diffrential carbon tax on Chinese browner steel?


"The U.S. steel industry has become 25% more energy efficient in the past 20 years. The Chinese steel industry now generates 50% of the carbon emitted by global steel production, but makes only 33% of the world’s steel, meaning that it generates much more carbon per ton than the global average. According to the International Iron and Steel Institute, Chinese steel production generates 2.5 tons of carbon per ton of steel, while U.S. steel production generates only 1.2 tons of carbon per ton of steel (Conway 2009; Bailey et al. 2009, 59). Thus, if Chinese steel is substituted for U.S.-made steel on a ton-for-ton basis, global carbon emissions would rise if domestic production were simply displaced by Chinese production."
Now apply this to pulp and paper, basic chemicals, nonmetallic mineral products, petroleum refining, glass, clay, textiles, cement, aluminum etc etc -- these are industries we're still "in". Lets become self-sufficient again in industrial basics

Trade war? Well if it means a greener planet, why the hell not?

Comments (1)


My pal Charlie Komanoff's Carbon Tax Center has long advocated something similar:

Border Adjustments, also known as Border Tax Adjustments or Border Tax Assessments, are import fees levied by carbon-taxing countries on goods manufactured in non-carbon-taxing countries.

The impetus behind border adjustments is the desire to ensure a level playing field in international trade while internalizing the costs of climate damage into prices of goods and services.

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