Consider China and India, the world's emerging economic powerhouses. Ecstatic over their rapid ascent from mass poverty, both nations do not see shuttering their manufacturing and industrial plants to remedy a problem created mostly by the United States and Europe as an opportunity. They see it as a bad joke. So Beijing opens about one new coal-fueled power plant each week and New Delhi reduces environmental regulations on the mining industry and both tolerate air pollution so extreme it makes Los Angeles seem like Eden.This argument, however, misses the fact that there are ways to encourage countries like China and India to join an emissions reduction regime. Imagine, for example, that the U.S. and Europe join together to reduce emissions. As part of the agreement, they could apply tariffs to imports from countries that are not working to reduce emissions. If the cost of implementing the emissions reductions is less than the costs of lost exports, then China and India will immediately sign up.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Getting China and India onboard
You often hear the statement that China and India will never sign on to any agreement that requires them to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions because it will hurt their economic growth. See, for example, this editorial, where they argue: