Letter in New York Times on Trade and Climate

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson at a press conference in Lima, Peru on December 8. “If a global agreement on climate change doesn’t work for and with businesses, it just won’t work,” he said.
USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson at a press conference in Lima, Peru on December 8. “If a global agreement on climate change doesn’t work for and with businesses, it just won’t work,” he said.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson has a letter in today’s issue of The New York Times on climate change and trade policy. The letter is reproduced below, and you can view it on The Times’ website by clicking here.

Robinson rebuts a recent piece by Times columnist Eduardo Porter that suggested border taxes on products from countries outside a so-called “climate club,” saying that countries should instead offer trade incentives, rather than punitive tariffs, to reduce carbon emissions and spur the deployment and use of greener energy technologies.

This letter is especially timely, as it comes after the most recent negotiating session of the UN climate change talks in Bonn, where USCIB played an important role in voicing private-sector views. Click here to read our report. It also comes as we gear up for next week’s climate-focused meeting of USCIB’s Environment Committee and the North American Business Climate Consultation, held in conjunction with the International Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Finally, USCIB continues to advance American business interests in the WTO’s Environmental Goods Agreement talks as well as other key trade negotiations, even as we grapple with the current trade deadlock on Capitol Hill.

The New York Times

June 15, 2015

The Opinion Pages/Letters

Climate Change and Trade Policy

To the Editor:

Eduardo Porter advocates launching a trade war as a way of ”solving” the climate challenge (”Climate Deal Badly Needs a Big Stick,” Economic Scene column, June 3), imposing tariffs on those countries that don’t join a ”climate club” committed to reducing carbon emissions.

But we should offer carrots instead of sticks to accelerate the transition to greener energy. Rather than threatening higher-emitting countries with punitive tariffs, we should roll back barriers to trade in environmental goods and services.

There is no contradiction between economic development and climate protection. Indeed, as countries grow richer, they can devote additional resources to cleaner energy.

To be viable, climate solutions must factor in real-world needs, including the need for economic growth, and deliver benefits today to people in both rich and poor countries.

And they need to be in line with political and market realities, including the global community’s common interest in keeping markets open and economic relations cordial.

The ”big stick” that Mr. Porter endorses fails to meet these criteria.

PETER M. ROBINSON
President and Chief Executive
United States Council for International Business
New York

Staff Contact:   Peter Robinson

President and CEO
Tel: 212.703.5046

Peter Robinson is USCIB’s 15th president. USCIB, founded in 1945, is a policy advocacy and trade services organization dedicated to promoting open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence.
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