Friday, September 28, 2012

Don’t Blame Trade for Climate Change

by Daniel Akst

Wall Street Journal
September 28, 2012

Could limiting trade, perhaps through emissions tariffs, combat global warming? Some people think so, since Western nations typically import items that produce significant greenhouse emissions in developing countries.

But two European climate change experts are doubtful such tariffs would do much good. In fact, in a new paper, they suggest that, absent international trade, developing nations such as China might emit even more greenhouse gases than they already do.

Looking at trade between the United States and China, it’s clear that carbon emissions embodied in imports from China far exceed those embodied in exports to that country, but mainly this is due to the size of the U.S. trade deficit. The authors figure that only about 20 percent of carbon transfers from China are attributable to China’s manufacturing emphasis on more polluting goods. And climate tariffs would have an impact only that portion of China’s exports to the U.S., the researchers report.


Read the Paper

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