Climate Change

Chirac to US: Sign Kyoto or Face Carbon Tax

By Ryan McGreal
Published February 01, 2007

French president Jacques Chirac has threatened that Europe may impose a carbon tax on imports from countries - like the United States - that have not ratified the Kyoto Accord and its 2012 replacement.

"A carbon tax is inevitable," Mr. Chirac said. "If it is European, and I believe it will be European, then it will all the same have a certain influence because it means that all the countries that do not accept the minimum obligations will be obliged to pay."

Of course, the United States would challenge such a tax under the World Trade Organization, which is dedicated to stripping away "barriers to free trade" in the name of economic globalization.

Also, many European Union countries, including France, have not managed to meet their Kyoto obligations despite signing and ratifying the treaty.

Still, this is certainly a sign of the increasing isolation and marginalization of the United States in the global community. With Democratic majorities in the two US Houses of Congress, the pressure is on President George W. Bush to take action on climate change.

His recent State of the Union address certainly made some noises about climate change and oil dependence, but so far his proposed remedies are laughably insufficient.

Unfortunately, this is an administration that seems to feed on outrage and delight in alienation. The more it is surrounded by opponents, the more stubbornly it persists in following its preordained course.

It will be interesting to see where Chirac's admonition goes from here.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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