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China, India Could Face CO2 Tax on Goods - US Envoy

Date: 26-Sep-07
Country: BELGIUM
Author: David Brunnstrom

Speaking before a meeting on climate change in Washington to
be attended by the world's 16 biggest greenhouse gas emitters,
US ambassador to the European Union C. Boyden Gray said steps
could include a tax on carbon emitted by manufacturers.

Gray said it was vital to get China and India on board in
reducing emissions.

"We just can't do without them," he told a news briefing.

"I think there are mechanisms that could be retaliatory ...
that could be utilised if China and India don't engage.

"You could probably find a WTO-compliant way -- for example
you could require goods to have to pay a fee related to the
carbon expended in manufacture," he said.

"There are ways you could do this and our Congress is
certainly looking at it, but I think it would be better to have
an agreement ... and that's what this is all about -- trying to
get China and India to engage."

Gray said he believed that up to one-third of California's
pollution blew across the Pacific Ocean from China.
"If they don't sign up, nothing which we do is going to
matter very much," he said, adding that one estimate showed that
shutting down all emissions from Britain would be cancelled out
within a year by growth in emissions from China.

Gray said it was positive that China and India had agreed to
send representatives to the two-day conference on climate change
and energy security in Washington from Thursday.

"I think we've seen a breakthrough ... it's the first time
they've really shown up with high-level people who are going to
discuss this in great detail."

ALL BIG EMITTERS

The meeting will be attended by the Group of Eight rich
countries -- the United States, Canada, France, Britain,
Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan -- as well as China, India,
Brazil and Indonesia.

These countries account for 80 percent of greenhouse gas
emissions and the Washington meeting will try to advance the
adoption of clean energy technology to contribute to UN talks.

UN climate change negotiations will take place in December
in Bali to try to agree a way to cut emissions after the Kyoto
Protocol expires.

President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of the
Kyoto treaty, which requires 36 industrial nations to cut
greenhouse emissions by at least 5 percent from 1990 levels by
2012. Bush says Kyoto unfairly burdens rich countries while
exempting developing countries such as China and India.

Developing nations say rich states built their economies
without emissions restraints and argue that they should have the
same opportunity to establish their economies now.

Gray also said the European Union would likely face a trade
battle if it went ahead with plans to include aviation in its
emissions trading system despite US efforts to discourage it.

"We don't think Europe has the authority to do it," he said.

"I think that's what it's going to end up as -- as a trade
dispute ... the Europeans are confident of their legal position;
people on the other sides are equally confident of their
position. Sounds like a lawsuit to me."

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