Dion touts tariffs on countries that are ‘free-riders'
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said Wednesday he would impose tariffs on imports from countries that Canada deems are not doing enough in the battle against global warming.
Mr. Dion's office said later that countries that have capped industrial emissions of greenhouse gases or who have imposed domestic carbon taxes would be exempt from the Liberal import tax, as would poor nations.
Trade expert Michael Hart of Carleton University's Centre for Trade Policy and Law dismissed Mr. Dion's carbon tariff comments as “bafflegab.” He predicted other nations would be furious with Canada.
“They'd quickly come to Ottawa and say ‘What the hell are you doing? Who came up with this crazy scheme?'” Prof. Hart said. “The environmentalists would all scream ‘the environment ueber alles [above everything else]!' [but] that's not enshrined in any trade agreement.”...
“I want Canada to be able to say ‘We are doing carbon pricing, are you?' And then, instead of being vulnerable, we'll be in a situation to protect ourselves,” he said.
To the professors "furious" comments, important to keep in mind that the idea of carbon tariffs are already being considered in Europe, namely the French and the idea has support with American politicians. As this process moves forward, countries that are making a sacrifice will begin to use that as leverage and, at the very least, the real threats will lead to concessions.
Future detail aside, politically, Dion introducing this idea says to Canadians that the Liberals will not put the country at a permanent economic disadvantage, this plan doesn't translate to unilateral suicide. I've commented on this idea before, but there is a school of thought which sees carbon tariffs as a future way to offset manufacturing flight, a economic disincentive.
In the now, the idea could be a bit issue within the entire scheme, but I find it attractive because it demonstrates a ultimate vision, it lays out a path to actually address the big picture.