Will Cap-and-Trade Incite Protectionism?

In contrast to a carbon tax, there is a serious danger that the international adoption of cap-and-trade legislation to limit carbon-dioxide emissions would trigger a new round of protectionist measures. As a result, cap-and-trade policiescould produce significant harmful economic effects in the near term that would continue into the future.

CAMBRIDGE ­– There is a serious danger that the international adoption of cap-and-trade legislation to limit carbon-dioxide emissions will trigger a new round of protectionist measures. While aimed at reducing long-term environmental damage, cap-and-trade policies could produce significant harmful economic effects in the near term that would continue into the future.

Scientific evidence appears to indicate that the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels (primarily coal, oil, and natural gas) – mainly in electricity production, transportation, and various industrial processes – contributes to gradual global warming, with long-term adverse effects on living conditions around the world. It is with this in mind that representatives of more than 150 countries are scheduled to meet in Copenhagen in December to discuss ways to reduce CO2 emissions.

A common suggestion is to impose a tax on all CO2 emissions, which would be levied on companies that emit CO2 in production, or that sell products like gasoline that cause CO2 emissions when used. Such a tax would cause electricity companies and industrial firms to adopt techniques that reduce their CO2 emissions, as long as the cost of doing so is less than the tax that they would otherwise have to pay.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/pFFm71p;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.