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Thursday, February 1st 2007

U.S. Cause of World Problems


Don’t Tread On Me

Please, go ahead and see what sort of tariffs come back at you.

President Jacques Chirac has demanded that the United States sign both the Kyoto climate protocol and a future agreement that will take effect when the Kyoto accord runs out in 2012.

[H]e warned that if the United States did not sign the agreements, a carbon tax across Europe on imports from nations that have not signed the Kyoto treaty could be imposed to try to force compliance. The European Union is the largest export market for American goods.

“A carbon tax is inevitable,” Mr. Chirac said. “If it is European, and I believe it will be European, then it will all the same have a certain influence because it means that all the countries that do not accept the minimum obligations will be obliged to pay.”

While doubting the resolution of the Europeans to make this happen (or that they even have the authority to do this if you keep reading), I would love to see the U.S. response considering the trade balance between the U.S. and Europe as a whole.


Boy that is big talk considering we appear to send 10 to 15 billion back every month. Like I said, this won’t come to pass, and if it did I don’t know nearly enough to be able to even venture a guess at the U.S. response but it would lovely to see them take a tough one and hit France back with with tariffs and taxes…cause it seems pretty obvious who would lose the most in that showdown.

As said above, the NY Times cites some who think any such carbon tax would be illegal,

Trade lawyers have been divided over the legality of a carbon tax, with some saying it would run counter to international trade rules.

Besides being the world’s worst polluter (by capital), we’re also obstructionist and seem to enjoy stalling reform measures. Hell, I’ll take some pride in that. Not only with Kyoto but also with last minute nagging concerning this new IPCC report,

Scientists involved in the discussions said early Thursday that the U.S. delegation, led by political appointees, was pressing to strike language on studies that pointed to a link between intensification of hurricanes and warming caused by human activity.

“The U.S. is refusing to go along with draft text and is being obstructionist on this,” said an e-mail message sent by one scientist in the negotiations to several colleagues and a reporter. “This is becoming an impossible process.” The scientist sent the message on the condition of anonymity because the negotiations were ongoing.

I almost started laughing at that. In actuality what the U.S. appears to be contesting is EXACTLY the things that we should all be questioning – specifically the predictions of the consequences of these rising temperatures.

These models are far, far, far, far, far (ad nauseum) from infallible. And according to the International Herald Tribune article it is the dramatic consequences of global warming, which the IPCC report is claiming, which the U.S. delegation is refusing to go along with,

While there is little doubt about these broad outlines, consequential details, in particular projections of how high oceans will rise in this century in response to the erosion of ice sheets in Greenland and parts of Antarctica, are more open to dispute.

Blah, blah, blah…everything is the American’s fault. The least imperialistic super power perhaps ever. The U.S. use of force and more importantly threat of force was key to the massive growth the world economy has enjoyed since World War II. And while there is still much suffering in the world, how many places on earth can say that the quality of life (while perhaps still substandard) is truly worse than it was circa 1945? Even in tragic places like sub-saharan Africa, where progress has been slow in terms of life expectancy (indeed has taken a decline in recent years) because of AIDS, I don’t think you can say this.

Literally the United States’ strength should be given a huge amount of credit for supplying the conditions for this to happen. Anything less than such “props” is revisionist history on a massive level. And while these sort of broad accolades for the U.S. don’t make it immune from criticism there is a general level of anti-Americanism around the world. These complaints (and threats) over Global Warming are just one manifestation of such.

American influence may be on the decline, more telling may be economic indicators rather than bitter foreign opinions. But to imagine the EU or China is ready to step up and ascend to a level of authority that the U.S. enjoyed at its peak is just wishful thinking.

The point is, America’s influence may be tempered from its peak, and at times it will have to cede to the will of the EU and the far east as they grow into their more influential roles, but through my lifetime America will continue to be the world’s foremost single power broker.

So please, continue to make bizarre threats, like for a “carbon tax”. I’m sure it reads good at home, but we’ll see who comes out of that showdown with the deepest scratches.

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