Eli Rabett's Simple Plan to Save the World (Part II)
About a year and a half ago, Eli provided a simple plan to save the world, something that appears to be of interest to your average Nobel Prize winner.
Nations wishing to make major progress on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions should introduce emission taxes on all products. These taxes should be levied on imports as well as domestic goods at the point of sale, and should displace other taxes, such as VAT, sales taxes, and payroll (e.g. social security, health care) in such a way that tax revenues are constant, and distributed equitably.
Recently, it has come to Eli's attention that the developing countries, specifically India, and to an extent China, are behaving badly, something that the denial-o-sphere is celebrating, if not directly, quite passive-aggressively. Even there, India's POV seems to orient towards the audience, much of this is pre-negotiation tactics. There are two principle threads to the argument, the first being that the US and the rest of the developed world own the problem. According to the principal Indian negotiator, Shyam Sara
We see no link between what the United States, as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, does and India assuming legal commitments for emission reductions. The volume of US emissions today constitutes over 20 percent of the global total and 20 tons annually per person. Despite our much larger population, India produces only 4 percent of those emissions -- 1.1 tons per person. Therefore, while we would welcome a positive and forthcoming attitude on the part of a new administration to significantly reduce US emissions -- as President-elect Obama has promised -- this has no bearing on India. It will not lead India to accept rules that go beyond the current UN climate treaty, which does not stipulate legally binding reductions for developing nations.
Eli's simple plan bypasses this. While India and China may reject emissions added levies, there is not much they could do about it in their export lead economies. The second being that everyone owns a per capita emissions cap
Even though there is no legal obligation on India in this respect, the Prime Minister of India made a commitment that India's per capita emissions will at no time exceed the average of the per capita emissions of developed, industrialized countries. We have thus accepted a limit on our emissions and at the same time provided an incentive to our partners in developed countries to be more ambitious.
To wave a red flag, per capita arguments need to confront population growth. Claiming a larger emissions cap on the basis of increasing population should not exactly win any more points than similar persiflage. It is instructive to look at population growth. Europe and Japan (not shown) have essentially flat population since the 1970s, the US population has grown, but a large part of that is immigration. India, well, Eli is a compassionate, fast breeding mammal but still. OTOH, the Rabett recognizes denial when it is on display thus
Eli Rabett's Simple Plan to Save the World (Part II):
India and China and many other developing countries should reduce their emissions of black carbon by 90% or more in the next decade. This will not only significantly reduce warming of the climate, it will make a major contribution to the health of their people. Simple and economical methods of doing this are available.
Anyone doubting the dimension of the problem should read James Fallows reports from Beijing (he recently left) in the Atlantic
More on the Emissions Added Levy (Blogger is behaving badly, but the full text is still in the Google cache)
Saving the world is hard work, Eli needs a beer. Comments
These should be introduced as an Emissions Added Levy (avoiding the bad jokes). EAL would be imposed on sale for emissions added in the preceding step and inherent to the consumption of the product, as would be the case for heating oil and gasoline. Manufacturers would pay the EAL on electricity they bought, and incorporate this and the levy on emissions they created into the price of the product they sell.
Imports from countries that do not have an EAL would have the full EAL imposed at the time of import. The base rate would be generic EALs based on worst previous practices in the countries that do have EALs, which would be reduced on presenting proof that the actual emissions were lower.