Europe has set a bold target for itself, reducing its total carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 against 1990 levels. It is an ambitious goal, no doubt, but one that is certainly attainable at the rate the continent is going. Just last year, statistics showed that Europe’s emissions had already fallen by 8 percent. Taken as
Empty rhetoric. That’s the verdict on the recently established New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from Geoff Bertram and Simon Terry in their searching book The Carbon Challenge: New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme. It is something of a cautionary tale for others contemplating such schemes.
European nations are wary about a perceived trend in France and the United States to use international competition as a reason to back off on carbon-reduction pledges.
They are concerned that carbon tariffs could be used to fend off competition from countries which have not committed to reducing emissions, in effect triggering a green trade war.
So far, France has been the only European Union member state to openly rally for the introduction of border measures to secure the competitiveness of European industry against emerging economies. It put the measure on the table in 2008 when the EU was immersed in discussions on a revision of its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).