Un marché de droits d’émissions pourrait-il raviver des mesures protectionnistes ?

CAMBRIDGE ­– L’adoption d’un marché international de permis d’émissions en vue de limiter les émissions de dioxyde de carbone risque réellement d’entraîner une série de mesures protectionnistes. Destinées à réduire les effets environnementaux à long terme, ces politiques de droits d’émissions pourraient avoir des conséquences économiques à court terme dont les effets pourraient perdurer.

Des preuves scientifiques semblent indiquer que l’accumulation de CO2 dans l’atmosphère provenant de la combustion d’énergies fossiles (principalement du charbon, du pétrole et du gaz naturel) – surtout par la production d’électricité, les transports et différents processus industriels – contribue au réchauffement climatique, avec des effets défavorables à long terme     les conditions de vie sur la planète. C’est dans ce contexte que doivent se réunir à Copenhague en décembre prochain des représentants de plus de 150 pays afin de discuter des moyens à mettre en oeuvre pour réduire les émissions de CO2.

Il est envisagé de mettre en place une taxe sur les émissions de CO2, qui serait prélevée aux entreprises dont l’activité entraîne des émissions de CO2 , ou qui vendent des produits tels que l’essence dont l’utilisation provoque des rejets de CO2.  Une telle taxe inciterait les compagnies d’électricité et les industriels à adopter des techniques qui contribueraient à réduire leurs rejets de CO2, à condition que le coût engendré par ces nouvelles techniques soit inférieur aux taxes auxquelles elles seraient assujetties.

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