Carbon Reduction Treaties Misguided
Copenhagen is becoming unlucky for the United States. Last Friday, Chicago lost its bid for the the 2016 Olympics there; this December, a summit will be held there to debate an international climate change treaty that, if passed, would critically damage the U.S. economy.
Some are pushing the “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act,” better known as “cap and trade,” to set the stage for this international treaty. In short, because of political compromises backroom shenanigans, the bill as it stands does more to raise the cost of energy — thus raising the cost of every product in the economy — than it does to reduce emissions. Missouri and other Midwestern states would be especially hurt by the regulations, given that much of our economy relies on carbon-emitting energy. (Read my previous blog post about cap and trade for more reasons why it is a bad idea.)
The student newspaper at Wash. U. wrote an article in favor of the international treaty, and about an upcoming event: In two weeks, Missourians will be marching in support of this treaty. Although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, this treaty and the support for it are misguided.
International treaties — especially in regard to environmental agreements — are difficult to enforce and are rarely effective. The Kyoto protocol, signed by 183 nations, was intended to reduce carbon emissions worldwide; however, the signatory nations have increased their emissions even faster than the world average and the United States.
This new treaty would only cripple the economies of the United States and other participatory countries. It would add an extra cost to business transactions with arguably negligible environmental benefits. Most of the world’s environmental damage is done by burgeoning industrial economies, like China and India, but they will not be party to the new rules. The United States can try to set a good example through productive and competitive efficiency measures, but cap-and-trade legislation would only hurt American businesses in an already uncertain global economy.