On Nature: Foreign Carbon Polluters

On Nature: David Voigts

Many ways of combating climate change have been proposed. One seemingly common-sense method is to put a fee on the carbon dioxide emitted by industry and give this money to each American as a cashback payment that would offset any increased costs of these products. Since all payments would be the same, people who used the smallest amount of products from carbon polluting industries would see the greatest benefit.

Especially troublesome is the carbon emitted by foreign industries that export manufactured products to the U.S. To remedy this, two recently introduced bipartisan bills, the Providing Reliable, Objective, Verifiable Emissions Intensity and Transparency (PROVE IT) Act and the Foreign Pollution Fee Act would use somewhat different methods to require foreign industries to report the amount of carbon emitted in the manufacturing of products exported to the United States

It is predicted that manufacturing in the U.S. will be found to be cleaner than the manufacture of many imported products, especially those from China. Tariffs on dirty producers then would be imposed and a cashback payment given to Americans. This also would help level the manufacturing playing field. Other countries, including the European Union, have begun this process. Let’s join them.

David Voigts is a retired ecologist and the current Conservation Chair for the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society. He is a Tama County native, graduating from Dinsdale High School, and lives in rural Jesup on his wife’s family farm.