Tariffs or protectionism
A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month could allow import taxes on products made in countries that do not have statutory curbs on greenhouse-gas emissions, sparking an outcry from emerging economies such as India and China.
Britain opposes the use of carbon import tariffs against developing countries to encourage them to tackle global warming, said British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband.
“We are skeptical about the notion of trade tariffs as a good solution to the issues that we face in relation to climate change,” Miliband told Agence France-Presse.
In Europe, France has been a vocal supporter of carbon tariffs, insisting they could be a plausible option if no deal goes down at December’s U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen.
However, the French proposals have so far received little support from their fellow E.U. members.
The Swedish E.U. presidency has said the threat of introducing such measures would only make negotiations in the Danish capital more difficult, while German State Secretary for Environment Matthias Machnig described them as “a new form of eco-imperialism” that would send out the wrong message.
Some rich countries say tariffs are necessary as they could dissuade polluting industries from shifting operations overseas to places with less stringent environmental controls.
However, countries such as China and India reject that view, arguing they are merely a pretext for protectionism.
E.U. nations in 2007 committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, compared to their 1990 levels.
Nicholas Sheble (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes and edits Government News.