Trading in on Climate Bill

Tucked away in the climate change bill introduced in the US Senate this week by John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is a provision that calls for unilateral US action against any nations that have not enacted emissions limits.

Specifically, the American Power Act states that, pending the enactment of a global agreement on climate change by Jan. 1, 2020, imports from non-compliant countries would be subject to a tariff to avoid “carbon leakage” (i.e., the transfer of manufacturing operations to sites with lower emissions standards).

In a nod to World Trade Organization agreements, the senators assert this “border adjustment” would comply to WTO rules (see page 3).

NAM’s response to the bill was mixed, and focuses more on other aspects of it, specifically provisions for offshore drilling.

The potential ramifications of such a law are interesting, especially in light of China’s (aka The World’s Workshop) resistance to almost any form of external environmental pressure. Certainly the world will be a very different place in 10 years, and it’s impossible to know whether technology and other innovations will have allowed the US to wrest back control over certain manufacturing markets. But personally, I don’t think this bill has any chance of becoming law, so it’s probably a moot point.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

One thought on “Trading in on Climate Bill

  1. The world loses another major importer – THE USA! If this pact by Kerry/Leiber(wo)man passes we’re screwed! Who will want to export to us, if we are ‘telling’ 3rd world countries to operate like us (essentially: “go bankrupt yourself”)? Yeah right. The major producers in the US are already covering their own Ar$es by buying (stealing) forest lands from other 3rd worlds (take Brazil for instance) and will use these ‘carbon offsets’. When the rest of the world understands this scam, you’ll hear a collective “No thank you!”. BTW, go ask the poor indiginous peoples of these forests what they’re going to do now, now that they can no longer live off these forests. Most will have to move, or die. Remind you of anyone? Say, like the Native Americans?
    This bill is MAJOR bad for the US!

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