Dan Mitchell: Unfortunately, trade liberalization has ground to a halt. In part, this is the fault of the United States, thanks to the protectionism of both Trump and Biden!

——

The Threat – and Soon Reality – of Climate Protectionism

For the first 50-plus years of my life, free trade was in the ascendancy.

Policy makers had learned a big lesson from the Great Depression about how protectionism was economic poison, and various trade agreements after World War IIhelped reduce trade taxes and other barriers to cross-border commerce.

It also helped that there was a “Washington Consensus” in the late 1900s that supported pro-market reforms in the developing world.

Unfortunately, trade liberalization has ground to a halt. In part, this is the fault of the United States, thanks to the protectionism of both Trump and Biden.

But let’s also make sure the European Union gets a a share of the blame as well. For instance, the one good thing about the EU (free trade among members) also happens to be one of the many bad things about the EU (protectionism against the rest of the world).

But being a protectionist bloc is a trivial problem compared to what is on the horizon. As reportedyesterday by the Wall Street Journal, the EU has unveiled a scheme to use climate as an excuse to increase global trade barriers.

The European Union reached an agreement to impose a tax on imports based on the greenhouse gases emitted to make them, inserting climate-change regulation for the first time into the rules of global trade. …The EU is expected to adopt it in the coming weeks as part of a sweeping package of legislation…The plan…has rattled supply chains around the globe and angered the EU’s trading partners, particularly in the developing world… It has also unsettled manufacturers in the U.S. who are concerned the measure would create a new web of red tape to export to Europe. …Europe’s carbon border tax aims to protect European manufacturers from competitors in countries that haven’t regulated carbon-dioxide emissions. …The legislation would require importers to register with authorities and seek authorization to import goods covered by the tax.

Today, the editorial page of the WSJ weighed in on the proposal.

Christmas came early to Europe’s tax accountants this week, although companies might think the occasion feels more like April Fool’s Day. …Europe is…pushing ahead with a carbon border adjustment mechanism, or CBAM, to tax imports on their carbon intensity. Europeans say this border tax is necessary to “level the playing field” for manufacturers that must pay for carbon emissions credits under the Emissions Trading System (ETS). The ETS already makes it less economical for some industries to operate in Europe, leading green activists to note a rise in imports from countries that don’t impose the complex tax. Imagine that. The CBAM would apply to imports from countries that don’t tax carbon emissions. …The biggest losers will be beleaguered European consumers. …carbon tariffs show how climate policy has become an anti-growth project. A better U.S. Administration would fight this, but the Biden White House and Treasury are fellow travelers.

I explained last year why this was a bad idea, noting that it was bad economics and also that it would advance cronyism and be a windfall for lobbyists(especially once the EU tries to calculate the about of untaxed carbon in every product).

But I also wondered if the Biden White House would be on the right side. After all, the US (thankfully) does not have a carbon tax, so you would think that American officials would be fighting against this EU proposal.

Unfortunately, I was being naive. As noted in the WSJ’s editorial, Biden and his team are fellow travelers. Indeed, the nightmare scenario (perhaps even worse the the nightmare scenario of the Trump years) is that Biden will unilaterally impose a version of climate protectionism on the US economy.

P.S. Is anyone surprised that the French were early advocates of this approach?

P.P.S. I’m a fan of the World Trade Organization, but I doubt that the WTO has the will or the ability to save the global economy from climate protectionism.

 

——-

The climate-change hustle

John Stossel: Through 50 years of reporting on scares, only COVID proved true

I hear that climate change will destroy much of the world.

“There will be irreversible damage to the planet!” warns a CNN anchor.

Joe Biden says he’ll spend $500 billion a year to fight what his website calls an “existential threat to life.”

Really?

I’m a consumer reporter. Over the years, alarmed scientists have passionately warned me about many things they thought were about to kill Americans.

Asbestos in hair dryers, coffee, computer terminals, electric power lines, microwave ovens, cellphones (brain tumors!), electric blankets, herbicides, plastic residue, etc., are causing “America’s cancer epidemic”!

If those things don’t get us, “West Nile Virus will!” Or SARS, Bird Flu, Ebola, flesh-eating bacteria or “killer bees.”

Experts told me millions would die on Jan. 1, 2000, because computers couldn’t handle the switch from 1999. Machines would fail; planes would crash.

The scientists were well-informed specialists in their fields. They were sincerely alarmed. The more knowledge you have about a threat, the more alarmed you get.

Yet, mass death didn’t happen. COVID-19 has been the only time in my 50 years of reporting that a scare proved true.

Maybe you accepted the phrase I used above: “America’s cancer epidemic.” But there is no cancer epidemic. Cancer rates are down. We simply live long enough to get diseases like cancer. But people think there’s a cancer epidemic.

The opposite is true. As we’ve been exposed to more plastics, pesticides, mysterious chemicals, food additives and new technologies, we live longer than ever!

That’s why I’m skeptical when I’m told: Climate change is a crisis!

Climate change is real. It’s a problem, but I doubt that it’s “an existential threat.”

Saying that makes alarmists mad.

When Marc Morano says it, activists try to prevent him from speaking.

“They do not want dissent,” says Morano, founder of ClimateDepot.com, a website that rebuts much of what climate activists teach in schools.

“It’s an indoctrination that’s so complete that by the time (kids) get to high school, they’re not even aware that there’s any scientific dissent.”

Morano’s new movie, “Climate Hustle 2,” presents that dissent. My new video this week features his movie.

Morano argues that politicians use fear of global warming to gain power.

“Climate Hustle 2” features Sen. Chuck Schumer shouting: “If we would do more on climate change, we’d have fewer of these hurricanes and other types of storms! Everyone knows that!”

But everyone doesn’t know that. Many scientists refute it. Congress’ own hearings include testimony about how our warmer climate has not caused increases in the number of hurricanes or tornadoes. “Climate Hustle 2” includes many examples like that.

“Why should we believe you?” I ask Morano. “You’re getting money from the fossil fuel industry.” After all, Daily Kos calls him “Evil Personified” and says ExxonMobil funds him.

“Not at all,” he replies. “I’m paid by about 90% individual contributions from around the country. Why would ExxonMobil give me money (when) they want to appear green?”

Morano’s movie frustrates climate activists by pointing out how hypocritical some are.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio says he lives a “green lifestyle … (using) energy-efficient appliances. I drive a hybrid car.”

Then he flies to Europe to attend a party.

I like watching Morano point out celebrities’ hypocrisy, but think one claim in his movie goes too far.

“Stopping climate change is not about saving the planet,” says narrator Kevin Sorbo. “It’s about climate elites trying to convince us to accept a future where they call all the shots.”

I push back at Morano: “I think they are genuinely concerned, and they want to save us.”

“Their vision of saving us is putting them in charge,” he replies.

And if they’re in charge, he says, they will destroy capitalism.

 

 

 

 

 

—-
State of the Union 2013

Published on Feb 13, 2013

Cato Institute scholars Michael Tanner, Alex Nowrasteh, Julian Sanchez, Simon Lester, John Samples, Pat Michaels, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Michael F. Cannon, Jim Harper, Malou Innocent, Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus and Neal McCluskey respond to President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address.

Video produced by Caleb O. Brown, Austin Bragg and Lester Romero.

_______________

In the past I have written the White House on several issues such as abortion, medicare, welfare,  Greece, healthcare, and what the founding fathers had to say about welfare programs,   and have got several responses from the White House concerning issues such as Obamacare, Social Security, welfare,  and excessive government spending.

Today I am taking a look at the response of the scholars of the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute scholars to the 2013 State of the Union Address.

Amy Payne

February 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

State of the…Climate?

Swept into office four years ago based, in part, on promises to slow sea-level rise, President Obama initiated a radical climate agenda. It seems we are seeing a rerun in 2013. It is worth asking what is different four years after his first State of the Union Address?

There have been four more years of no global warming. In 2010, there had been no significant world temperature increase for over a decade. The streak is now 16 years long. We have four years of costly lessons on the waste and inefficiency of green-energy subsidies.

The scientific basis for catastrophic climate change gets weaker and weaker. The economic argument for green subsidies has already collapsed. It is time for the administration to quit using both arguments to justify a regulatory and fiscal power grab.

David W. Kreutzer, PhD, research fellow in energy economics and climate change, Center for Data Analysis

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