Continued lack of carbon price targeting in America is perpetuating considerable uncertainty in green technology.
Lack of carbon pricing initiatives has made long-term projects difficult to get off the ground and hampered would could be lucrative investment in new technology. Business individuals and even lobbyists are beginning to realise that a fair carbon pricing programme in the US can provide vital certainty allowing them to plan for the future.
There is a growing support amongst business in the US for a fair tax on carbon.
There is an on-going demand for the the American government to deal with its deficit over the next president term.
Carbon taxation is one approach at tackling what is already increasingly perceived as an out-dated part of industry. This tax on carbon could be off-set by tax breaks for companies that create green jobs and embark on projects more attuned to the environmental, the end result being a healthier long-term economic strategy.
It’s difficult at this early stage to gauge the return on green technology as the capital is spread across a mosaic of varying enterprise.
Wind and solar are fixed and returns can be measured, but innovative technology in transport and batteries remains in its infancy. Given the emergent nature of this technology, it’s likely to be a considerable period of time before it starts producing sizeable dividends.
There is cause for optimism as uptake in renewables across the US has been dramatic, particularly with the US armed forces investing heavily in green technology.
Yet the benefits of introducing a carbon tax only really come into help when used in global trade – but there’s doubt in business whether such a trade framework yet exists. The regulations set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) certainly underpin the extent we can liberalise world trade – the Doha talks did not do enough to address how green technology and investment might fit into the structure of global trade.
The next stage opening up green technology must be for APEC to work out how they will take tarrifs down to their 5% stated commitment. This has been a tense piece of negotiation within the WTO and there has been limited progress in coming up with a framework that allows green technology the space it needs to become incorporated into world trade.
Asia is vital in general trade, but as some of the world’s highest pollutants they play an important role in the spread of green technology. Ensuring that China participates fully in global climate change solutions is absolutely vital. China provides a promising testing zone for future technologies, given the strength and enthusiasm within its economy. It’s certain that green technology will take off in China in a way that just isn’t viable in Western nations since China has avoided the worst of the economic downturn.
Albeit following its own route, China is moving towards green technology, but only solely for domestic reasons. As the WTO embraces green technology and the nature of trade changes, China will have to invest in comparable technology in order to play the green market.
The sooner solutions such as carbon taxes are introduced by governments, the faster we’ll see a rise in green trade.
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