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Firstly, Nomad, excellent diary, well argued.

Secondly - I've been away for a bit - but the impression I got from the media is one of Obama rescuing some sort of s deal - any sort of a deal - from the shambles of a chaotic process which had too many actors and conflicting agendas ever to have had any prospect of success.  As such it is a minor PR rescue operation for Obama, and nothing more.  Certainly no meaningful progress in any objective sense.

If this debacle does not lead to some review and improvement of the process of how global Treaties are negotiated, I don't know what will.

The only positive I can take from the outcome is that the responsibility for taking the process forward now seems to lie squarely where it has to - on the largest polluters - China and the USA.  Europe is already a good deal more efficient in per capita and as proportion of GDP terms - and so has less scope for dramatic improvement in the short term.

The EU offer of 30% off 1990 levels compares to the US paltry offer of 3% off 1990 co2 levels - so how much further could the EU be expected to go especially when US 1990 levels were already so much higher?

While it is regrettable that the EU has now lost its leadership position in the one area of policy where it did have a global leadership position - in this case the spotlight has to be, and needs to be on the US and China.

I don't know if this will lead to a more positive outcome for COP16 - hopefully all leaders will be keen to avoid another Copenhagen cop-out - but the US claim for global leadership on anything positive will be on the table - as will China's pretensions to a global superpower role.

Perhaps the EU should start imposing a carbon tax on all imports (and local production) to reward the more efficient producers, but I suspect more unilateral action will be required before the global polity can move forward.  

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 09:30:39 AM EST
Frank Schnittger:

Perhaps the EU should start imposing a carbon tax on all imports (and local production) to reward the more efficient producers, but I suspect more unilateral action will be required before the global polity can move forward.  

That is an excellent idea.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 10:11:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or require that imports buy CO2 permits equivalent to their average per domestic unit of currency CO2 emissions unless it can be proven that the full CO2 emission impact justifies a smaller permit, or that a meaningful cap is in place.

China, the US, South Africa, Russia, India and Australia will kick in the WTO, so maybe first some EU producer needs to sue that allowing imports in without buying their permits is a discriminatory trade policy.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 at 12:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
- over the environment and CO2 emissions might just be worth fighting, and be a wake-up call to all.  Why should the EU (and others) bear the environmental costs of the US and China et al failing to make meaningful reductions?  Charge them the difference and let the sparks fly - and the WTO be damned...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 at 07:53:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, the EU, as the worlds largest market, has the same opportunity that the US had after WWII to set up a trade system that gets enough countries to sign up that its worthwhile following its rules to get access to the aggregate marketplace.

It could be something as simple as a side agreement of what method of production restrictions all parties will in fact respect whether or not they are subject to successful challenge with countervailing duties permitted within the WTO.

After all, at its core, the WTO system works on a civil court style system - if a successful complaint is brought, the penalty is that all affected parties can impose countervailing duties. If there are certain circumstances where a large number of countries agree to refrain from imposing those countervailing duties, that de-claws the WTO.

Indeed, the G-77 could get an agreement on a non-toxic next round of the WTO, except within the bounds of that side agreement - and the right agreement could pull in a large swathe of sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Get a large enough swathe of Sub-Saharan Africa and South America in that side agreement together with the EU, and it might be a tough decision for China to make whether join it and make for effective over-ride of the standing WTO interpretation of its rules that allows "no method of production regulation allowed" to override the dead letter public benefit provisions.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 at 11:30:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to add ... get a large enough swathe of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Mercosur countries, AND ASEAN, and it gets more interesting for Australia, South Africa, and India to make a deal, which is three of the dirty six. If that tips China in, its four of the dirty six, with only Russia and the US out in the cold.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Dec 23rd, 2009 at 12:24:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If China is in, they can ration American fossil fuel imports, inasmuch as the Americans have to pay for said imports with hard currency, and China has the capability to make sure that the US has no hard currency.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 02:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the Montreal treaty - getting rid of freons - was structured along similar lines. But the actual treaty is a bit to dense for me to easily parse.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 at 02:22:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the likelihood that its too dense for me to parse as well, but if I have a chance, I'll see what I can find out.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 at 03:21:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a round of bans on imports of products containing the banned substances. Since that is largely non-discriminatory. Its the ban of imports of products made using the banned substances that do not contain the banned substances that is trickier under the WTO. The provisions for trade with non-signatories to the agreement is to try to ban the import, where feasible. The provision for trade with signatories is that each signatory that is unable to completely phase out use of the banned substance for domestic production bans the export of products made with the banned substance. And of course, there is nothing in the WTO to force any country to allow the export of any product.

So that would be deal - in exchange for being permitted market access to the EU for a range of products not presently agreed to in the WTO, in particular agricultural products, the signatories that do not have domestic CO2 regulation up to a certain standard agree to impose a carbon export tax on a range of products, include allowing a technical panel of the agreement set adjustments based on actual production methods in use in the country.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Dec 26th, 2009 at 09:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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