FP Proposes a Joint US / EU Climate Trade War Against China

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Foreign Policy, next time the “opportunity opens up”, the USA and European Union should unite to impose carbon taxes on the entire world.

Climate Change Is Coming for Global Trade

As sea levels rise and storms become fiercer, container shipping could be in for major disruptions.


After the cold fall winds swirling around Hurricane Sandy pushed an enormous storm surge toward the New York and New Jersey coastlines several years ago, the ensuing damage left an indelible imprint on the public imagination. Restaurants with ocean views were battered by wild waves, homes were rent asunder, and historic lighthouses were pummeled into piles of rubble. New York City was paralyzed for days, and some 40,000 people were left homeless.

The dramatic destruction garnered 24-hour media coverage, but the damage to international trade slipped more quietly under the radar.

Perhaps more important, the rapid growth of international trade also makes striking an effective global climate agreement more difficult. China’s emergence as a trading superpower has given rise to fears of so-called “carbon leakage,” which occurs when costs related to complying with climate policies drive businesses to transfer production overseas in pursuit of laxer rules. If the European Union or United States makes polluters pay for their greenhouse gas emissions, the fear is that the polluters would simply offshore production to China or another emerging economy, yielding no net environmental benefit. But if developed countries don’t act, emerging economies never will.

A carbon tariff has received considerable attention on both sides of the Atlantic as a means of addressing carbon leakage and breaking the deadlock of international climate action. Such a scheme would involve applying a tariff to imports from countries that have not already accounted for their carbon emissions. However, past efforts to set up a border adjustment have been resisted.

Given these political developments, it is worth considering the prospect for a coordinated EU-U.S. initiative when the next window of opportunity opens up. Coming from the two largest markets in the world, whose economies are responsible for approximately half of global GDP, a joint carbon border tax would represent a seismic shift in international climate diplomacy.

From an EU perspective, the benefit of joint action is clear—it would remove the risk of retaliation from the United States. From a U.S. perspective, the main benefit would be to win a solid ally in its increasingly frayed trading and geopolitical relationship with China. Acting with the EU could also help rejuvenate the United States’ standing as a global climate leader, whereas going it alone risks associating border taxes with strong-arm tactics. Another major benefit of working together on such a carbon initiative would be to bolster the trans-Atlantic relationship, which is—according to many commentators—in crisis.

Read more: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/16/climate-change-disrupt-global-container-shipping-trade-policymakers-take-note/

Carbon leakage is the green policy inspired loss of jobs and businesses to countries with lower energy costs.

If you have never heard of “carbon leakage”, this allegedly not a problem receives a lot of attention in Europe, so it is likely a very serious problem indeed.

The European Union’s proposed response to carbon leakage is to try to erect massive tariff barriers, to eliminate the competitive disadvantage created by their costly green energy policies. But the last time the EU and USA attempted joint action on carbon taxes, the Senate failed to pass the Clean Energy and Security Act which would have given President Obama the power the impose carbon tariffs on Chinese imports.

When Europe subsequently tried to go it alone, President Obama moved to block them – the prospect of unilateral European carbon taxes targeting the USA was too much even for President Obama.

Now European leaders dream of a future US president who is at least as radical on climate issues as President Obama was, so they can use the combined economic might of the USA and Europe to level the playing field, by imposing their climate ideology on the entire world.

Naturally European politicians would never dream of interfering in US politics to try to achieve this goal.

52 thoughts on “FP Proposes a Joint US / EU Climate Trade War Against China

  1. I think there should be a tariff on stupid ideas, and expecting China do anything but what is good for them won’t fly.

    • At some time China may become self-sufficient. Until then it is quite susceptible to economic pressure. The pain being inflicted on China by President Trump’s trade war is evidenced by the behavior of Chinese suppliers dealing with foreign companies. link Many Chinese companies don’t see a long term future. They are willing to rip off their customers to get whatever they can before going defunct.

      • China could become self sufficient if they can conquer Australia with military force for “lebensraum” and minerals and buy up Africa’s mineral resources with Sino-imperialism.

        • Joel, China is also making great headway in Latin America. The newly elected socialist President of Argentina sent a trade commission to China, and it certainly was not about how to conduct open and transparent negotiations, but more likely was along the lines of “one hand washes the other and they both get clean”.

        • Having all the resources in the world is no good unless they have a market for their goods. It could be that China’s internal market will eventually become sufficiently large that China won’t need America and Europe. The evidence is that they aren’t there yet.

          • If they don’t starve first. Pork is China’s main source of protein and they are in desperate straights due to African swine fever.

  2. Europe is always looking for another trade advantage to make up for their own domestic policy mistakes and exorbitant costs. Don’t be duped.

    • So, the USA pays for Europe’s defense AND Europe’s energy policy blunders?

      Here’s the bottom line: Europe is much less important, geopolitically, than it once was. The next century will be about the relationship between the US and China, about the rise of India, and about the scramble for dominance in Africa. Sorry Europe, you’re yesterday’s news.

      • Please don’t properly inform the EU and the UK about the real future. We really don’t want to know that we no longer have an entitlement to an ever increasing standard of living, wealth and security simply because we are British, or French, or German! Monnet’s simple remedy of an EU European super state to stop a repeat of the wars between European countries in the 20th Century and earlier was outdated even before the EU was formed. The world game is now being played outside of Europe!
        Don’t also upset them by telling them they won’t be able to stop dispute or confrontation with the rest of the world by simply asking them to meet in the nearest Starbuck’s and talk the problems away over a nice cup of coffee.
        Don’t also even suggest that all the large emerging nations will not need aircraft, submarines or ships to challenge us. Any such nation in conflict with us would only need to sit back and simply create a siege by stopping all the containers ships sailing here who supply us with all the increasing amounts of essential goods and materials that we need desperately, but need to import!

    • “Climate Change” is both the excuse for abject Progressive policy failure and for more bad Progressive policy.

  3. Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, set up the GFI, Green Fianance Initiative, to ensure strict green credit lines outside the hands of any Government. Ursula van der Leyen will do exactly that with the largest investment bank, the EIB, European Investment Bank. All openly stated, no secrecy, no fossil fuel investment whatsoever. Interesting that Blackrock LLC, seconded these measures at the FED confab in August.

    These bankers boys (and girls) call this “regime change”, i.e., a complete upturning of the relationship between nations and central baking.
    It looks like these boys (and girls) have two problems, President Trump (future is not for globalists, rather nations) and China with its BRI.

    That makes China and Trump’s USA natural allies. Hence the hysteria among bankers boys (and girls).

    • Sorry, but China is not an American ally. It’s pretty clear, even to Democrats, that Communist China is a threat. In fact, China will be the greatest threat the US has ever faced. The 21st century could be the equivalent of Europe’s 17th. It might be that bad.

      • What the Dems’ “think” is irrelevant., if they actually do at all.

        China will not tow the line nor will Trump.

        The greatest threat the USA faces is the careening financial blowout about to hit a bank near you or the in EU. It is not the crash or mudslide as such, rather the action to be then taken by sovereign nations. London knows Trump will not tow the line. the Dems get their orders as quite a few GOP’ers do too, from London. Sorry for London, but they have no illusions.

        Get it?

        • I don’t usually play Spelling Police, but I’ve seen a couple of errors I’d like to gently point out.

          It’s “toe the line”, not “tow the line.” Comes from sailors lining up on deck for muster, and putting their toes on a line specially for that purpose.

          Also, it’s “desperate straits,” not “desperate straights.” Also from sailing origins, as straits are relatively narrow passages, and if you’re caught on a lee shore, you are in dire straits, for sure.

      • “It’s pretty clear, even to Democrats, that Communist China is a threat”

        Well, except to the Democrats who’ve been working for China for decades.

        China will face huge social problems as soon as the West stops funding it. It’s a paper tiger propped up by corrupt Western politicians.

        But, still, this is actually a very rare case where carbon taxes could be beneficial to the West. But the Chinese are well aware of that, which is why they’d never agree to any such thing.

        • It’s no paper tiger. You’ve a nation of nearly 1.5 billion. Until the fire in Peking, in 1421, that destroyed the Forbidden City, when the Chinese stopped exploring the world, they were building a massive trading empire. The West’s days are dwindling, China is taking over & marshalling Africa & the Far East along with itself. They’ve no compunctions about dealing with countries, with a poor human rights’ record, they’ve no compunctions about funding fossil fuel developments.

          • They’re a nation of over a billion people which relies on foreign money to keep those people from eating their leaders, has a banking system whose level of corruption makes the West’s look tame, and a massive lack of women due to the one child policy.

            If the Western ‘elite’ wasn’t determined to destroy the West, China would be pretty much irrelevant. Economically and technologically, everything they have today, we gave them or they stole from us.

      • China is no ones ally.
        its only goal is its own wellbeing and keeping its masses under control
        its will trade n deal but always count your fingers when you shake hands with em

    • “Green Fianance Initiative” … must be a typo somewhere :

      Green Flatulence Initiative.

      Fixed !

  4. Goodness me, now saving the planet has turned in to a carbon tax for all scam… How utterly stupid are the greens who believe the world is going to end in 8 weeks, 2 years or was it 12 year??

  5. “If the European Union or United States makes polluters pay for their greenhouse gas emissions, the fear is that the polluters would simply offshore production to China or another emerging economy, yielding no net environmental benefit. But if developed countries don’t act, emerging economies never will.”

    The fear that polluters “would”? They already have. That’s been the reality for a generation now. And the net to the environment has definitely been negative.

    • Yes. Western industry is much cleaner than Chinese industry. If Western politicians actually cared about ‘global warming’, they would never have encouraged Western companies to ship production to China.

      But the world is changing beneath their ass, and now they’re struggling to get onto the anti-China bandwagon with anything they can think up.

      • The only industry left in the West is defense hardware and software; the rest was exported to China after Kissinger opened the floodgates for more profits for the Western and Chinese 1% after 1971. Henry in his rush to diminish the USSR bigged up China so much that the world became economically bipolar instead of a US monopoly. Russia is a backwater now, but still a useful bogey for US mil-complex funding while the US-China 1% keep laughing all the way to the bank IF Trump doesn’t spoil their party.

  6. The underlying assumption in the above Foreign Policy blivit is that imposing a “carbon tax” will do something to reduce “climate change”—whatever that means—as opposed to just making all products around the world, especially energy, more expensive. It is an egregious, sophomoric assumption that is completely wrong.

  7. This proposal is to cause many premature Chinese deaths via curtailment of access to energy, with the main benefit being a few bad scientists being pleased that they got their way in the CO2 debate. Not a reasonable balance by any criterion. Geoff S

  8. “Carbon leakage” is intentional and necessary to support wealth redistribution. Very slowly more are coming to the understanding that AGW has nothing to do with temperature and everything to do with economies.

    • Carbon leakage is a very polite understatement of what’s actually occurring. It’s more like the carbon floodgates are opened as most of our manufactured goods can be attributed to China’s low cost of energy and labor.

  9. Foreign Policy is owned by the Graham Holdings Company, formerly The Washington Post Company. Enough said.

  10. emerging economies never will

    As emerging economies both the USA and England fouled their air and nastied their waters. Then they made great progress in cleaning up both. Outsiders did not orchestrate these improvements by imposing useless costs to the societies.

  11. I was reading something in the WSJ about the loss of container ships with vehicles. Are the waves getting bigger or are the ships beyond their engineered capacity? Or other? Like cruise ships they don’t look too safe nowadays.

    • Shit happens.
      Large ships have been lost in the past, the MV Derbyshire was sunk during Typhoon Orchid, in 1980. Vehicle carriers & container ships, are quite prone to sinking, if their loads shift.

    • One problem is that Pure Car Carriers [which are not container ships] operate in a very competitive market. Indeed.
      This can – on occasion – allow the Company operating them to cut corners, so no satisfactory stability calculation is performed before the ship sails.
      Sometimes, this means that the ship is not sufficiently stable.

      One, with no human casualty – the ‘Hoegh Osaka’, in 2015 [report published in 2016]:-

      There are other ways, only too many of them, to have an accident on a ship – not keeping a look-out; entering an unsafe enclosed space; and walking a gangway drunk are amongst them.
      But not checking your stability, and then making a very sharp turn is pretty effective!


  12. War.
    It’s that simple.
    This talebanic climate extremism that is growing in confidence and power by the day, can only lead to one thing. A religious crusade against carbon sinner nations. The Third World War that many thought had faded from probability with the Cold War ending, is now fully and sharply back in the frame.
    For the climate zealots, there is nothing to fear even in a nuclear exchange. It achieves their goal of a global reduction in carbon emissions, and a reduction in population.

    Climate change zealotry has returned us to a place where a powerful political movement finds unlimited war desirable. Therefore the coming generation will experience a devastating war. Good job Jim Hansen.

    • “War. It’s that simple. …”

      Oh please! What crazy nonsense. Greens can’t even get their radical drivel much past 10% level in elections (not enough young and truly dumb people) so how is their world-view ever going to figure into geopolitical strategy or threatening of warfare? What fraction of society would ever support that? What alliance would even consider it for an instant?

    • Follow the trajectory forward. Politics always eventually leads to war. Where we are now with XR and Greta Thunberg is not where we were 5 years ago. Five more years will take us to an even more insanely dangerous place. We are seeing the start of the climate crusades. Nations will diverge between the Anglosaxons and north Europeans (Germany, Denmark etc.) who will hamstring their economies by severe self-punitive climate measures, and others such as Russia and China, India, Saudi Arabia etc who will not. A new cold war will start between climate compliant and climate non-compliant nations which will coalesce into political groups. The warmist rhetoric will continue to escalate. It is easy to predict the narrative that the “bad” countries are betraying the planet and poisoning the planet for our grandchildren. From this standpoint, war is 100% inevitable.

      Either the world’s leading nations will formally step back from the escalating climate emergency rhetoric and publically repudiate this dangerous nonsense.
      Or there will be war – almost certainly nuclear.

  13. Remember the sh!t storm from the attempted European carbon tax on air travel to and from Europe? This would be 10X worse.

  14. “… and historic lighthouses were pummeled into piles of rubble. ” – article

    Baloney!! Hogwash!!! Pure, putrid, unadulterated hogwash. I checked on that. One New York coastal lighthouse was damaged, a few in New Jersey had some damage, but NOT ONE OF THEM WAS POUNDED INTO RUBBLE!!! All of them a eligible for a Hurricane Sandy repair grant and they are getting them.

    This alone makes the article and the author’s viewpoint questionable, never mind the exaggeration, lack of evidentiary support and the moldy bread surrounding the baloney!!!

    It appears that there is no low level of twaddle and disinformation and just plain fabrication that these people will not stoop to, to get what they want. I hope they find the basement level soon. Winter’s coming. They may need a warm place to stay.

  15. ‘Acting with the EU could also help rejuvenate the United States’ standing as a global climate leader’

    Damn, if that don’t motivate you, what could?

  16. I was wondering what country or block of countries would take this lunacy to it’s final solution and take us to war to save the “climate”.
    In the 1930’s there was a very popular idea in the western world called ugenics. One country “Germany” took this idea to it’s worst conclusion and the whole world recoiled in revulsion but the base idea had popular support worldwide before the German national SOCIALIST put it into practice. Too the young out there I tell you that we are headed to a similar disaster today.

  17. About Carbon Dioxide taxes:

    Tax increases = Bad

    New taxes = Bad

    Increased taxes means decreased economic activity.

    A decrease of economic activity means a decrease in job numbers and an increase in poor people unable to pay their bills.

    This applies to any kind of tax, including a tax on carbon dioxide.

    What would cause a conservative Republican to agree to impose a tax on carbon dixoide? Answer: An irrational fear of CO2.

  18. NO NO NO- the response to China and Russia should be carbon tariffs on them, specifically. They are the one’s trying to take advantage of the rest of the world through underhanded, “deep state” tactics such as invasion, deceptive development practices, arms build up, and other bad behavior.

  19. Climate Change Is Coming for Global Trade

    As sea levels rise and storms become fiercer, container shipping could be in for major disruptions.

    BY JOSEPH CURTIN | NOVEMBER 16, 2019, 3:07 PM

    “sea levels rise and storms become fiercer” since Chancellor Helmut Schmidt:


    And with Chancellor Angela “angie” Merkel:


    + in history:

    Learning from Disasters: Saxony Fights the Floods of the River Elbe 1784 …
    – jstor by G Poliwoda · 2007 · Cited by 13 · Related articles

    1845 at least 12 disastrous floods happened in Saxony. The …. He provides an historical Elbe level indicator and river marker, which he …

    The Great Flood of 1962 in Hamburg | Environment & Society Portal

    Around midnight, the Elbe broke through the dyke system at sixty locations. … Flooded harbor area in Hamburg on February 17, 1962.

    Elbe River – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

    The major reason is: Hamburg is situated on the banks of the river Elbe, a major river in ….. (A) Historical flood map, (B) flood extent map, (C) flood depth map, (D) flood …


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