Commerce Secretary: America needs to pay for China’s emissions

posted at 12:00 pm on July 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

It’s bad enough that the Obama administration wants to penalize all Americans for their energy use through the cap-and-tax scheme that will hobble our economy and hike electricity and gas costs, but until now they only proposed to penalize us for our own energy use.  With China refusing to join the West in economic suicide, who will pay for their emissions?  Commerce Secretary says that the American consumer is to blame for China’s energy-production emissions — and we’ll pay for that instead of the Chinese:

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said something amazing—U.S. consumers should pay for part of Chinese greenhouse-gas emissions. From Reuters:

“It’s important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America — and it’s our own consumption activity that’s causing the emission of greenhouse gases, then quite frankly Americans need to pay for that,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

The idea that rich-country consumers should pick up the tab for some of China’s industrial emissions has been gaining currency lately—but not from within the Obama administration. The argument is that many of China’s factories churn out cheap stuff for the West, not for domestic consumption, so those consumers are actually responsible for the emissions. China, of course, loves the idea.

Commerce sent this non-responsive statement to the Wall Street Journal when they reported this late Friday night:

“Secretary Locke has been very clear on emphasizing the importance of fair trade as a part of the United States’ relationship with China. He believes U.S. companies should not be disadvantaged by Chinese imports not bound by responsible policies to reduce carbon emissions. China and the US must work together to ensure a level playing field and reduce our carbon footprints. The Secretary’s trip to China demonstrated his commitment to fair trade and his belief that both the United States and China can benefit from shared investments and cooperation in clean energy that will lead to commercial and environmental benefits for both countries.”

This could happen in one of two ways.  The Obama administration could make cap-and-tax more expensive in order to make up for the emissions from China, which would absolutely delight Beijing.  In fact, that would allow them an easily-adjustable pressure point on the American economy by simply increasing their emissions.  If the US increased the penalties for domestic emissions in order to compensate, the Chinese could sell their good much more cheaply in the US than domestic producers.

The other option would be energy-production tariffs on imported goods, which would touch off a trade war with China.  That would make goods more expensive in the US at the same time energy bills begin to skyrocket, launching an inflationary spiral and begging China for retaliation.  Since China holds a large amount of US debt, that retaliation could get extremely expensive for both countries.

The US does not need to pay for China’s carbon emissions, even if the “greenhouse effect” presents a danger to the planet, a theory which increasingly looks suspect.  This is yet another version of the blame-America impulse in the Obama administration, one that will hit us all in the wallet — and in our outlets and furnaces.

Update: My friend Derek Brigham of Freedom Dogs has a great new graphic for the Obama administration’s Blame America Tour 2009.  Be sure to use it — and to link back to Derek when you do:

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We caused the drug violence in Mexico.
We caused the emissions of the Chinese.
We caused the jihadis to attack us on 9/11.

These self-loathers won’t be happy until we’re living in caves.

PattyJ on July 19, 2009 at 9:28 PM

You forgot to define “We” as “White people”. “CONSERVATIVE White people.”

Lourdes on July 20, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Didn’t we “pay for it” when we buy their products and keep food on their table?

Sqrl on July 20, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Gee, I got confused when I saw the logo. I thought the old weather underground was back. The hopey-changy ™ logo looks just like the logo of the old soldier and cop murdering weather underground designed by billy bomber ayers…

bullseye on July 20, 2009 at 2:52 PM

This Locke idiot needs to be put in a padded room.

No joke, he is bat-sh*t insane.

Dave R. on July 20, 2009 at 2:53 PM

I will NOT pay for my own emmissions
let aone another countries

I am so sick of this vile crap

veteranoutrage on July 20, 2009 at 4:25 PM


While we’re at it, let’s cure world hunger, cure AIDs, cure cancer, pay reparations, build housing for the homeless, buy every pygmy in the Congo elevator shoes, etc.

What, we’re bankrupt? But Barry says we have more checks?

NoDonkey on July 20, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Kirr them arr,Godzilla!

lizzee on July 20, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Part of our penitence for existing is that we’re building nuke plants in India. We, of course, don’t deserve to have any of our own and must shiver. That’s only fair, right?

dhimwit on July 20, 2009 at 7:55 PM

These idiots don’t realize that there is very little they can make us pay for.

They think they can simply announce that we will pay for this and that and it will be so.

They either don’t realize or overlook the fact that we have the ability to simply not buy things, as well as to make less money and thus pay fewer taxes. Even when purchases are off and tax receipts are in the gutter, they act dumbfounded.

Yet they continue their imperious reign.

Alana on July 21, 2009 at 12:45 PM

We already paid for Bill Clinton’s emissions do we have to impeach China now too. I know this doesn’t make total sense but that will not stop me from posting it.

Geochelone on July 21, 2009 at 3:33 PM

It appears if we don’t vote him out in 2012 Obama will destroy the country.

My vote is for Romney since he understands economic growth.

scotash on July 22, 2009 at 2:21 AM

You mean the same Mitt Romney that pushed and passed his own version of Obama’s health care program in Mass? I think that we can find a politician that is just a little more Conservative this time around.

SGinNC on July 22, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Brings to mind this parody: “Obama Orders Millions of Roses Airlifted to Europe as Part of Massive Overseas Apology Operation”

Mervis Winter on July 22, 2009 at 5:41 PM