It seems that European governments might intervene with various efforts to effectively subsidize the cost of ration coupons under the Emissions Trading Scheme. Apparently, if the scheme were to work on its own the economic pinch threatens to scare the U.S. off from being suckered into doing the same thing to itself. So games are in order (as if the ETS didn’t have enough in play already, as reported in this space many times).
Bloomberg quotes an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG:
“Europe needs to demonstrate that emissions trading is not too expensive, to win agreement for a global climate protection deal starting 2013, [the analyst] said. “Probably the last thing that a European policymaker would want to see is a price spike in the carbon market in Europe that would make other countries internationally less willing to contemplate tough carbon caps.”
This is a very revealing attitude. But it is hardly unique to this particular example. I have even encountered enthusiasts of the Law of the Sea Treaty — also touted as an “environmental pact” because it codifies the precautionary principle, and governs land-borne activities like electricity production that might arguably impact the oceans — counseling current Parties to show restraint in implementing the treaty’s intrusive powers until the U.S. is safely on board as a bound Party (University of Miami professor Bernard Oxman, for one).
I say about the ETS example what I’ve said about LOST: the signposts are for us to see. If we proceed anyway we have no one to blame but ourselves.