Monday, November 22, 2010

Hitting where it hurts

The following appeared in my email today, copied from the Huffington Post. I haven't investigated to see how speculative Nick Stern's comments were intended to be. However, being European, I do have a much better idea about the feelings most Europeans have in regard to the lack of US participation in climate reductions. A partial trade boycott is at least a distinct possibility.

But being at least part American these days, I also have a good idea of how American conservatives might react to such a boycott, at least in the first instance, and what might then ensue in US politics.

I would not have advised these comments. But I'll be fascinated to see what happens next. Lord Nick has stirred up a real hornets nest here.

Nicholas Stern: U.S. Trade Boycott Could Result If It Doesn't Address
Climate Change And Reduce Carbon Emissions

The Huffington Post | Travis Walter Donovan First Posted: 11-19-10
07:09 PM | Updated: 11-19-10 07:15 PM

Just 10 days ahead of international leaders convening in Cancun,
Mexico for the UN climate change conference, British economist
Nicholas Stern warned Friday that the U.S. could face a boycott on its
products from other countries if it doesn't adequately reduce carbon
emissions, AFP reports.

Stern told The Times, "The US will increasingly see the risks of being
left behind, and 10 years from now they would have to start worrying
about being shut out of markets because their production is dirty."

Author of the British government's 2006 report on the economics of
climate change, Stern is also a member of a high-level advisory group
that recently issued a report to the UN stating bank financing, carbon
permit auctions, and new carbon and transportation taxes are necessary
to raise enough money -- $100 billion a year by 2020, committed to in
last year's Copenhagen accord -- to effectively reduce emissions and
mitigate the damages climate change will have on developing nations.

"A modest price on emissions, in the range of $20-25 per tonne of CO2
would push incentives in the right direction and raise substantial
revenues," Stern told the Guardian.

Climate legislation progress has effectively come to a halt in the
U.S. after a failed attempt this summer to pass a bill that would cap
greenhouse gases. The bill faced staunch opposition from many
Republican senators, despite having passed the House in 2009. With the
latest GOP victories in November's elections, there is little chance
that measures addressing climate change will succeed in the next two
years, although many states are moving forward with their own agendas.

According to Bloomberg, at a press conference on Wednesday, the Obama
administration's climate negotiator Todd Stern said that despite his
doubts about there being any "enormous leaps forward" in Cancun, he
still thinks "real and concrete steps" are possible.

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