It is time for the environmental movement to face up to the fact that there never will be an international treaty to restrain carbon emissions. The practical way to respond to global warming is healthier is wealthier, richer is safer. Faster economic growth creates more resources for resilience and adaptation to a changing environment.
The best case I’ve seen recently for doing nothing about global warming was put by those arguing with the greatest sincerity and considerable technical skill that the next international climate treaty should be built around a climate club of those that comply with its obligations with green tariffs on those who do not join.
William Nordhaus has proposed climate clubs as a way of overcoming free riding in international climate negotiations. Specifically, the international climate treaty should authorise members to impose green tariffs on non-members to encourage them to impose their own carbon taxes and carbon emission targets. This has been done before with the Montréal protocol on CFCs. To encourage the phase-out of CFCs countries that did not commit to do so simply could not trade in those goods with members of the club.
4%! A 4% global green tariff is all that is necessary under a climate change treaty that proposes that a carbon price of $50 to apply globally! A 4% green tariff is hardly worth worrying about considering tariffs used to be much much higher than that.
Given all the stories of why woe and doom touted out by the climate alarmists, climate salvation and the keys to environmental heaven should cost much more than 4% tax?! Your sins are forgiven for a 4% green tariff! Big problems such as a climate crisis are not solved with a 4% green tariff.
I think this green tariff of 4% is an own goal. It reinforces the clear message from the economics of climate change that global warming is actually a small economic problem not a large one.
For developed countries, global warming will be at most a minor irritant. For developing countries, their best solution and the solution they have most control over is to develop faster and become a developed country.