Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Free-riders and climate trade wars

Climate Feedback has a post that puts the recent trade rumblings about carbon emissions into context. EU President Barroso has announced plans to compel companies outside the EU to carbon emissions credits so that they wouldn't have an unfair against European companies. The U.S. and U.K. have thundered against these "trade barriers." They decry "protectionism."

But as Nicolas Sarkozy of France and others point out, the anglos are behaving like classic free-riders -- taking advantage of others' adherence to the rules, while ignoring the rules themselves. The Europeans shouldn't be penalized for their efforts to cut carbon emissions. Nor should Americans and others be rewarded for continuing to emit high levels of carbon dioxide.

We begin to see how a perennial conflict will be transposed into carbon terms.

Photo of hitching a skateboard ride on a bumper, known as "skitching," from Wikipedia.

No comments: