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Climate Sanctions Proposed Against the United States and the European Car Industry

Germany's Social Democrats are calling for sanctions on energy-intensive US export products if the Bush administration continues to obstruct international agreements on climate protection, writes The Boston Globe (HT: David).

Meanwhile, German car manufactures and many politicians are angry at EU plans to impose hefty financial penalties against companies, whose fleet of cars does not reduce carbon emissions enough. The idea is to slash auto emissions by 25%. The EU proposal came the same day the U.S. passed tighter fuel-efficiency standards for new cars and light trucks, which could affect a brewing national debate about emissions. The Wall Street Journal writes that in the case of Volkswagen, the penalties could total as much as Euro 1.4 billion (US-$ 2.02 billion), roughly half the company's 2006 net income.

Related post in the Atlantic Review: Germany's Dirty Cars

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Pat Patterson on :

What's the German translation for the Smoot-Hawley Act?

Zyme on :

Do you mean the "Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act" ? As regards the EU dispute - it will be quite interesting to see what will result out of this intense conflict.

Pat Patterson on :

Yeah, I used the popular terminology not its official title.

Zyme on :

As an American, I would not take these statements from the social democrats so seriously. They are simply part of the election campaign..

Pat Patterson on :

This may sound naive but are there geographic areas that the Social Democrats represent where industry might actually benefit from tariffs?

Zyme on :

Tough question. I don´t know for sure. But this is hypothetical anyway, as those statements are just election propaganda. You shouldn´t take it seriously.

Pat Patterson on :

I agree, but because our representatives are tied to the interests of their locality much more than the national party sometimes a politician may champion an industry that is loathed by the rank and file of the party. Such as small government Republicans voting for continued ethanol subsidies and socialist leaning Democrats voting to eliminate capital gains taxes.

David on :

"socialist leaning Democrats voting to eliminate capital gains taxes" Chuck Schumer is "socialist leaning"? I wonder if the voters in New York know...

Pat Patterson on :

I'm sure that the voters of NY know and actually don't care about his leanings.

Reid of America on :

There will be no sanctions against the US. Germany is dependent on exports to the US. This is just another daily dose of global warming hysteria.

SC on :

In the earlier post, I see that Jos Dings, a director of T&E, is quoted saying that German car makers "seem to be intent on building ever heavier, larger and more gas-guzzling cars that simply don't belong in the 21st century." Deutsche Welle reports that government spokesman Thomas Steg seems to agree in part by saying that the measures were biased against German companies, which tend to make bigger and more powerful vehicles; and that the plans would threaten jobs, hinder innovation and fail to be an effective instrument for climate protection. The DW report also points to Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel slamming the proposals, by saying that they favored Italian and French car makers. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3012941,00.html I'm a bit surprised at the German government's reaction noted in the DW report. Why, it seems, ahem . . . rather American. Surely there can be little if any support among the voters for such regressive nonsense.;)

Zyme on :

Climate change in this regard is like religion a few hundred years ago. It is used intensively by our politicians when it furthers their agenda. And when it comes into conflict with our policies, it is dropped immediately or counter-reasons are made up why the climate change is actually solved best a way the ordinary man would not recognize at first.. It is as laughable as those instrumentalizations of religion in the past, but seems to be too complicated for the majority to grasp as well. Thus, it is a perfect tool for politics.

SC on :

Amen. :)

Kyle - Atlantic Review on :

@ Zyme: "Climate change in this regard is like religion a few hundred years ago. It is used intensively by our politicians when it furthers their agenda. And when it comes into conflict with our policies, it is dropped immediately..." I think it depends on the politician. I work for a California State Assemblymember whose agenda is dominated by environmental issues. He is an environmental crusader and considered one of the leaders in the California legislature on environmental issues. Of course, he is only able to do this because his voters agree with him. The district we cover is Silicon Valley, and is full of rich liberal democrats who agree Global Warming is happening, have the money to address it, and there is also a large push to make Silicon Valley the green technology center of the United States (clearly making the Green movement and economically positive issue in the area). My guess is there are politicians who genuinely care about green, but in the end politician's ideals must match their voters... unless they want to be fired!

Zyme on :

Yes of course this almost religious atmosphere on climate change in politics also helps at rinsing in the hardcore believers. But those are usually not the heads of government, as they are probably silently sneered at by the real politicians ;) How else could you explain that within a matter of a few years all politicians jumped on the climate bandwaggon? Oh yeah I forgot, the most recent discoveries have simply converted - ah, I mean convinced them!

Don S on :

"Climate change in this regard is like religion a few hundred years ago. It is used intensively by our politicians when it furthers their agenda." I agree. Al Gore isn't running for President anymore, he's running for Archdruid. I think he was less harmful running for President. THe way I see it these European politicians are trying to strongarm the US into ratifying a treaty written by EU functionaries in the EU interest. The US isn't going to do that whether it's President George, President Hilary, or President Obama. President Al might have tried to but hte Senate would have vetoed it. The EU isn't going to ratify the American treaty either - and it shouldn't. That is why people negociate. If the EU doesn't want to negociate because it's somehow evil then there is no agreement.

joe on :

I would forward to Germany taking this action. And I am sure they would be shocked that the US might take some action against them. Typical socialists. Very German and European. But what I do not understand is why do the Germans feel the US must sign up to this. I just don't get that. Especially since Germany is such a world power. Hell, they can just do this all by themselves.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Would these sanctions be unilateral? Shouldn't they go through the U.N.? Sorry, I couldn't resist! Seriously, however: Under World Trade Organization agreements, I think the Social Democrats would need a favorable ruling from the WTO in order to implement sanctions. I don't think the WTO's environmental protection provisions have been amended to cover greenhouse gases, so how would they be able to make a case? So these are probably slogans for purely domestic politics. I wonder, will the opposing parties accuse the Social Dems of incompetence in that they don't seem to understand the rules of world trade? That is what would likely happen in the US.

Zyme on :

In the recent past this has usually been conducted by the EU. It has happened repeatedly, you would simply have to convince the European Commission. But this won´t work in such a ridiculous case.

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