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Poznan’s Bad Timing



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As the Poznan COP procedes apace, today’s Wall Street Journal reports:

The European Union is facing mounting pressure from European-based steel companies to reshape the world’s largest carbon-trading system or face a massive loss of jobs. The conflict pits the EU’s environmental goals against its desire to keep high-paying jobs on the Continent. Europe’s steel industry generates €140 billion ($178 billion) in sales annually, employs about 370,000 people directly and about one million people indirectly.

Nothing surprising here, folks. All things being equal, if you restrict the supply of something, it will become more expensive. If you put a price on something not previously priced (and that is found everywhere), get ready for higher costs across the board. CO2 is a byproduct of production, of generation, of growth, of progress — of breathing. Start taxing or limiting it — as Europe and other Kyoto signatories have done — and you will put the brakes on your economy. Or worse yet, put it in reverse. 

It’s a simple tradeoff: (1) CO2 emissions from productive economic activity or (2) job losses, falling GDP, and higher costs for producers and consumers. Economic progress or economic downturn. Take your pick, Europe.



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