Opinion by Mathew Carr
April 22, 2022: The best thing for the planet on Earth Day today would be for President Joe biden of the USA to prod Senator Joe Manchin to stop holding up climate policy and push for a carbon fee-and-divdend policy.
Like dominos, other big global players like China and India would follow the USA (in their own way) and get more ambitious on climate action. They have less incentive to do so unless North America, most to blame for the world’s most dangerous crisis, moves first.
Why let the world’s biggest climate criminal ride for free on your effort when it is also the most wealthy and influential in important markets and trade?
If the big government players properly get on board (like big corporates seem to be at least to some extent), a G20ish climate deal then becomes more likely, damping geopolitical tension and ushering in years of global economic growth.
The US representative on the WTO three days ago called for a common global approach to carbon pricing:
WTO Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard discussed on April 19 the triple crisis of COVID-19, conflict and climate change, and how trade and the WTO can address these threats:
“The bottom line is that we need a common approach to carbon pricing, to ensure that measures are not adopted in a discriminatory manner and that the needs of developing countries are addressed to enable a just transition. And the WTO is an optimal forum for such discussions because it, by its nature, includes countries from all regions and levels of development. No other economic organization has such a broad membership and includes African voices so comprehensively. At the WTO, we stand ready to work to support governments in taking effective trade and climate action.”
Many smart people are pushing for the carbon-price-and-dividend approach, which already successfully operates in the UK, EU:
The Chicago Tribune:
A policy known as a carbon fee and dividend, outlined by (James) Hansen in his 2009 book “Storms of My Grandchildren,” would impose a small but steadily rising fee on fossil fuels based on the amount of carbon released when those fuels are burned. (The fee could start as low as $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, equivalent to about 14 cents a gallon of gasoline.)
To make sure the burden doesn’t fall disproportionately on low-income households, the tax revenue would be rebated in equal shares to all Americans in the form of a monthly check or direct deposit. Studies have shown that the lowest two-thirds of the income distribution would get more in “carbon cashback” or dividends than they would pay in increased costs.
Another feature of the policy is a border carbon adjustment to protect U.S. manufacturers from imports that originate in countries without a comparable carbon tax — and to encourage other countries to follow suit.
Canada and the European Union are already considering such tariffs on imports into their jurisdictions, including from the U.S. [In fact the EU appears to be actually doing it]
Global Temperatures Are Already ‘Commonly’ More Than 2C Above 1951-1980 Average