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Time Magazine: The EU’s Carbon Tax Plan Could Force the USA to Act on ‘Climate Change’

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Green fantasies from Time’s Justin Worland.

How Europe’s Border Carbon Tax Plan Could Force the U.S. To Act on Climate Change


On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the European Climate Law, which would bind the bloc to eliminate its climate footprint by 2050 and officially launched the policymaking process to enact a new tax on products from countries that aren’t working to reduce their emissions. Such a rule could leave U.S. companies at a serious—and costly—disadvantage as they compete for business in the EU.

The EU’s plan is a significant escalation, but it’s not a complete surprise. The intellectual foundations behind policy, which the EU has dubbed a border carbon tax, have been discussed in policy circles for years. As the EU has doubled down on policies to reduce emissions, and the U.S. and others have lagged, pressure mounted on the bloc to take more sweeping action. “It’s pointless to reduce carbon emissions inside Europe, to then import them from outside,” Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, told reporters at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos in January.

Several groups in Washington are pushing for the U.S. to get ahead of the Europeans’ plan by implementing its own carbon tax, along with an adjustment at borders. Such a move would make U.S. businesses more competitive on the global stage as countries increasingly demand more energy-efficient products, advocates say. Supporters of such an approach include a conservative group, the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), which is backed by some of America’s biggest companies, green groups, economists and Republican elder statesmen. “This really creates an incentive for other countries to say, ‘yeah, I want to get inside that club,’” says former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who supports the CLC.

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The problem with Justin’s theory is the EU has no backbone when it comes to trade disputes. When President Obama rejected the EU’s last attempt to impose carbon taxes on US businesses, The EU’s response was to express their disappointment.

Brexit has left the EU desperately short of cash, but I doubt President Trump will let the EU fill their budget shortfall by slamming US businesses with a new carbon tax.