19.07.2021 – 16:13
Last week can be remembered as a milestone in the fight against climate change – or another time in which American and European leaders, faced with the undeniable effects of rising global warming, vowed not to give up.
On Wednesday, the European Union unveiled an ambitious climate plan that would increase the bloc’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 61 percent by 2030, from 43 percent.
The 27-nation group would do so by raising the price of carbon it imposes on polluting industries, including home heating and transportation fuels, to at least $ 71 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
This would send a much stronger pricing signal to businesses and consumers than has its emissions trading system since its inception in 2005, encouraging them to use cleaner fuels, save energy and buy products. with smaller carbon footprints.
The plan also calls for the decommissioning of petrol vehicles by 2035 and massive investments in energy efficiency programs, such as renovations of buildings that would result in energy savings.
The price of carbon dioxide is the cheapest, most efficient way to reduce emissions because it utilizes the ingenuity of individuals and businesses to find the best way to decarbonize.
To offset the higher energy costs of consumers, the EU would offer them potentially tens of billions of dollars in aid, revenue from the revenue that the carbon tax would generate.
To prevent industries from leaving Europe for countries with lower carbon taxes, the EU would impose a carbon border adjustment – a tariff on goods from countries that do not have strict emissions policies.
As long as the border duty only offsets the additional costs faced by European businesses – and does not serve to mask unwarranted trade protectionism – this agreement would limit the harm to businesses and encourage foreign exporters to adopt stronger environmental policies. tire.
It is not known today whether EU policymakers will stick to their program or cut policy when prices start to rise, as has happened in the past.
What is clear is that their basic outline – price emissions, consumer revenue recycling, imposing a border adjustment – is the most rational policy response to climate change.
American leaders must embrace it as well.
Instead, Republicans bury their heads in the sand.
Democrats want to act, which is an improvement, but they seem to favor setting seats and spending massive sums of money, rather than the price of carbon.
They need to rethink this approach.
Imposing a carbon tax will increase revenue, reduce emissions, and cost less than mandate and subsidy programs.
If the choice were between this policy and nothing, Democrats should seize the opportunity.
But Democrats are not yet at that point.
Climate change requires an aggressive, well-crafted and persistent response.
Translated and adapted by The Washington Post / konica.al