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基思·亨尼西(Hennessey)的博客

美国前国家经济委员会主任、乔治·布什的首席经济顾问Keith Hennessey

 
 
 

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斯穆特—克鲁格曼碳关税  

2009-05-31 21:36:47|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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摘要:一直以来,我十分敬佩克鲁格曼博士作为国际经济学家在过去所做的工作。让我吃惊的是,在全球经济如此薄弱的时候,他甘愿冒着全球贸易战的风险,光天化日之下打响第一枪。  

 

上周五,我写了关于中印是美国气候战略中的漏洞一文:

 

美国似乎找不到一个十拿九稳的战略来说服中国、印度和俄罗斯自觉征收大幅上调的碳排放价格。

政府及其国会联盟正试图通过类似Waxman-Markey的法案从而在美国强制实施碳价的征收,同时还要加入国际谈判进程,而国际上高达60%的碳排放只征收小额甚至为零的碳价。这样很可能造成世界经济局势的严重不公,让中国和印度的工人和企业获利,而让美国受损。同时,也无法化解全球气候变化带来的风险,因为大部分的碳排放仍然得不到限制。

该文中,我向美国决策者提出了两个问题来解决这个漏洞。第一个问题是:

1. 要说服中国政府跟其他国家一起征收不断增加的碳价,我们应该使用何种工具呢?(单选或多选)

A. 领导力:美国以身作则,带头实施碳价。然后使用外交手段试图说服中国。

B. 胡萝卜:美国为中国的减排买单。

C. 大棒:如果中国政府不合作,美国对中国进口的商品征收关税。

 我才知道保罗克鲁格曼博士8天前就提出了这个问题。他在纽约时报514日的专栏写了“碳帝国”:

我周围的人越来越乐观,他们认为,国会将很快出台一项排量限制与额度交易制度来控制温室气体的排放,随着时间推移,管理将愈加严格。一旦美国采取行动,我们可以期待世界上很多国家将追随我们的步伐。

 

...但是,中国的问题依旧存在,上周我几乎都在那里。...但是由于地球无法承受的压力,中国不能沿用目前的政策。...并且中国的排放增长速度——早已是世界最大的二氧化碳排放者——是这一新悲观观点的主要原因。

 我想对比一下我提出的战略问题上,克鲁格曼博士和我的不同。我们考虑的区别点在于严重的气候变化导致的风险和代价,这些差异使我们提出了本质上不同的政策建议。

 

首先阐明我对科学和气候变化的风险的看法。大量证据表明,严重气候变化的长期风险是存在的。但是却没有多少对数字的讨论:风险有多大?气温有多高?变化有多快?我们有多大把握?这些数字至关重要。如果我们明确的知道,地球在未来2030年里将升温10度,我会为马上要付的一大笔烟尘排放税而大声疾呼。相反,如果我们认为地球有可能在下一两个世纪内变暖1度,那么气候变化就是无关紧要的问题,我们无须担心。然而问题是,没人知道我们处于这两种极端情况的何处。这一不确定因素的影响很大,它使得问题更难解决。

 

鉴于这种不确定因素,我认为在下一两个世纪内出现严重的气候变化的风险小但不能忽视。因此,我愿意考虑重要和有效的政策措施来减缓温室气体排放的增长,以此降低风险。然而,我不认为风险如此之大或者明确,以至于我们必须立即承诺对经济采取激进的手段,或者忽略实行这些政策的成本。这就像我对待任何其他政策问题一样:鉴于程度巨大的不确定性,对比各种不同的政策建议选择,我们当前排放制度的边际成本和边际效益是什么?我会在另外单独的博文里列出对这些问题的想法。如果我确信这些问题值得研究而且可行,我会考虑对国内碳排量定价的政策。目前为止,我还没有看到任何有关碳排量定价的建议,我认为(a)利益将覆盖成本,以及(b)在现实世界应对不同国家利益的可行价位。但我乐于倾听好的建议。

 

现在,让我们着眼于美国气候战略里关于中印问题的两个不同答案。

 

l         克鲁格曼博士倾向于认为,如果中国不减缓温室气体排放的增长,世界其他国家的行动将不足以显著减少全球的排放。克鲁格曼:“今年1月份,中国宣布,计划继续将煤炭作为其主要的能源来源,这将使得煤炭的生产在2015年增长30%用以满足中国经济的发展。仅这一项决定,就会埋没其他任何国家的排放缩减。”我同意他的这个观点。

 

l         我同意克鲁格曼博士对中国官方立场的解读:“对于中国的问题该做些什么?中国没有给出答案。访问期间,每次我提出这个问题,都会遇到激烈的声明:期待中国限制矿物燃料的使用是不公平的。”这和我在20072008年的行政谈判中所知的中国立场是一致的,金融时报上周五报道称:“北京重申,包括中国在内的发展中国家,应该在自愿的基础上减少排放,且仅当这些削减‘符合其本国国情以及可持续发展的战略’。翻译过来是:我们没有规定国内碳价。中国建议美国和其他富裕国家从我上面的菜单中选择答案(B)胡萝卜:富裕国家为中国的减排买单。

 

l         看来,克鲁格曼博士认为,中国领导人将不会受控于选项(A)领导力:“一旦美国采取行动,我们可以预计大量世界上的其他国家将追随我们的步伐。...但是,中国的问题依旧存在...”我很大程度上同意他这个观点。

 

l         克鲁格曼博士似乎假定,我们必须从现在开始就减缓全球温室气体排放的增长。我不同意此观点,我更倾向于比约隆姆博格博士的观点。技术条件的情况使得短期减排的经济成本很高,而且长期的气候受益不大。举个例子,隆姆博格博士估计,向京都协议投入1美元将产生相当于约30美分的长期气候受益。如果你认为长期的气候变化必须加以解决,我们最好把资源用于技术推动来尽量缩减碳还原技术的成本。这些技术的成本越低,越易于每个人显著的减少排放,越易于包括中印在内达成全球减排的协议(假设你认为这样的协议是有必要的)。

 

l         由于克鲁格曼博士认为,我们必须说服中国改变经济增长方式,“因为地球不能承受的压力,”他得出这样的结论,我们应该施加碳进口关税。他的措辞相当谨慎,但显然是在宣扬:

因为美国和其他发达国家最终会抵抗气候变化,他们也将在道义上有权对付这些拒绝采取行动的国家。很快,在多数人没有想到的时候,拒绝减排的国家将面临制裁,很可能是以其出口关税的形式。他们会抱怨这是贸易保护主义,但是那又怎样?如果地球本身都不能居住了,全球化又能解决什么问题。

 

l         从技术层面上讲,克鲁格曼博士没有明说(1)美国(2)应建议(3)碳进口关税。取而代之,他预言“制裁,很可能以其出口关税的形式”被施加于未命名的国家“在多数人没有料到的时候”。就这句来说,这仅是预测,但是下面两句黑体字,他赞同对未命名国家实施诸如“制裁,很可能以出口关税(针对中国)的形式”。用这个巧妙的措辞,克鲁格曼博士宣扬了一个激进但却最终可以否认的政策建议:碳进口关税。

 

l         我相信,有的药比疾病本身更可怕。进口关税将会成为贸易保护主义(克鲁格曼博士承认这一观点)。在各国制定不同的国内碳价的全球气候变化谈判中,世界上最大的两个经济体(中国和印度)拒绝效仿的背景下,显而易见,美国施加碳进口关税将会引发全球贸易战,有可能破坏世界经济。看来,克鲁格曼博士愿意用承担增加全球贸易战的风险来换取从中国(和印度?)减排中有可能获得的利益。我可不敢苟同。

 

完整的来说,回答我自己提出的战略问题,我的答案是“(D)以上都不是。”

 

l         即使美国通过排量限制与额度交易的体制或者烟尘排放税制定了国内的碳价,仅靠外交手段不可能说服中国和印度的领导人在其本国也这样做。选项(A)单靠外交手腕不会起作用。

 

l         中印不减排的情况下,我以为,全球可能减少的未来排放增长所带来的全部气候受益,不能弥补美国国内碳价所造成的经济成本(在近期内)。

 

l         我反对美国给大型发展中国家如中印的减排付账。我相信美国国会也同意这个观点。选项(B)将不会、也不应该成为美国的选择。

 

l         因为我认为严重的气候变化带来重大灾害的风险小,而采用当前的技术,近期减排的成本高,由于对碳进口税可能引发全球贸易战的深度担忧,故我强烈反对选项(C)大棒政策,包括任何形式的碳进口税。与中国在内的自由贸易,对我来说比采用施压手段试图使中国领导人改变其能源发展途径更为重要。

 

l         我们这里谈论的不是小数目。中国认为发达国家应该贡献出GDP0.5-1%来帮助贫穷国家减少他们的排放量,国内碳价的经济影响是用同样的指标衡量的。用GDP的百分比计算,是相当严谨的事。我反对征收这样的关税──尽管只是威胁(征收)──我也不支持类似克鲁格曼博士宣扬的观点。

 

l         因此,我得出结论,最好的政策就是美国不要在近期制定国内的碳价。如果决策者认为严重的气候变化的风险需要解决,我建议他们把重点放在推进碳还原技术的研发上,通过减少关税以及其他贸易障碍来交流这样的技术,正如Dan Price曾建议的。

 

l         我很赞同美国把纳税人的资金用以促进国际联合研发的成果。只要美国公司保留他们对此的研究产权,这不失为代替国内碳价的一个选择。

 

一直以来,我十分敬佩克鲁格曼博士作为国际经济学家在过去所做的工作。让我吃惊的是,在全球经济如此薄弱的时候,他甘愿冒着全球贸易战的风险,光天化日之下打响第一枪。

 

 (翻译纠错。读者发现任何翻译错误请发邮件给我们,谢谢:caijingblog#126.com 将#改为@)


 

      英文原文(地址:http://keithhennessey.com/2009/05/29/the-smoot-krugman-carbon-import-tariff/):

 The Smoot-Krugman carbon import tariff

     

I wrote last Friday about the China/India hole in the American climate strategy:

America appears to lack a high-probability strategy for how to get China, India, and Russia to agree to self-impose a significant positive carbon price.

The Administration and its Congressional allies are trying to impose a significant carbon price in the U.S. through something like the Waxman-Markey bill, while entering an international negotiation process in which as much as 60% of global carbon emissions could face little to no carbon price.  The likely outcome would dramatically tilt the global economic playing field, harming U.S. workers and firms relative to their counterparts in China and India.  At the same time, it would make little progress toward addressing the risk of severe global climate change, as a large portion of global carbon emissions would remain effectively uncapped.

In that post I identified two questions that American policymakers need to answer to fill that hole.  The first of those was:

What tools should we use to try to convince the government of China to impose a positive carbon price as part of a global effort?  (choose one or more)

  1. Leadership:  U.S. goes first and self-imposes a price.  Then we use diplomacy to try to convince the Chinese to do the same.
  2. Carrots:  The U.S. pays the Chinese to reduce their emissions.
  3. Sticks:  The U.S. imposes import tariffs on Chinese goods as long as the government China does not impose a carbon price.

I now see that I was eight days behind Dr. Paul Krugman in identifying this challenge.  On May 14th, he wrote in his New York Times column “Empire of Carbon”:

(T)he people I talk to are increasingly optimistic that Congress will soon establish a cap-and-trade system that limits emissions of greenhouse gases, with the limits growing steadily tighter over time. And once America acts, we can expect much of the world to follow our lead.

… But that still leaves the problem of China, where I have been for most of the last week. … But China cannot continue along its current path because the planet can’t handle the strain. … And the growth of emissions from China — already the world’s largest producer of carbon dioxide — is one main reason for this new pessimism.

I’d like to compare where I think Dr. Krugman stands on various elements of the strategic question I posed, and compare them with my own views.  We differ in our concern about the risks and costs of severe climate change, and that difference leads us to radically different policy recommendations.

I should state at the outset my views on the science and risk of climate change.  There is a significant amount of evidence that there is a long-term risk of severe climate change.  But there is little discussion about the numbers:  How big of a risk?  How much warmer?  How quickly?  How certain are we?  And the numbers matter a lot.  If we knew with certainty that Earth would warm 10 degrees over the next 20-30 years, I would be screaming for an immediate big carbon tax.  If instead we think Earth is likely to warm one degree over the next century or two, then climate change is a trivial concern and we needn’t worry about it.  The problem is that nobody knows where we are between these two extremes.  This uncertainty matters a lot, and it makes the problem hard.

Given this uncertainty, I believe there is a small but non-trivial risk that there will be severe climate change over the next century or two.  And so I am willing to consider significant and effective policy actions to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions to reduce that risk.  I do not, however, believe that risk is so great or so certain that we must immediately commit to drastic changes in our economy, or that we must ignore the costs of those policy actions.  I treat this like any other policy question:  Given tremendous quantitative uncertainty, what are the marginal costs and benefits of our current emissions path, compared with various recommended policy options?  I will quantify my thinking on these questions in a separate post.  I am willing to consider policies to set a domestic carbon price, if I can be convinced that they’re worth it and will work.  So far I have not seen any carbon pricing proposal that I think (a) would have benefits that exceed the costs, and (b) is feasible in the real world of nation-states with differing national interests.  But I’m open to suggestions.

For now, let’s focus on two different answers to the China/India question in the American climate strategy.

  • Dr. Krugman appears to believe that, if China does not slow its global greenhouse emissions growth, actions by the rest of the world will be insufficient to significantly slow global emissions.  Krugman:  “In January, China announced that it plans to continue its reliance on coal as its main energy source and that to feed its economic growth it will increase coal production 30 percent by 2015.  That’s a decision that, all by itself, will swamp any emissions reductions elsewhere.”  I agree with him on this point.
  • I agree with Dr. Krugman’s read of the official Chinese position:  “So what is to be done about the China problem?  Nothing, say the Chinese.  Each time I raised the issue during my visit, I was met with outraged declarations that it was unfair to expect China to limit its use of fossil fuels.”  This is consistent with what I know about the Chinese position from our Administration negotiators in 2007 and 2008 , and with what the Financial Times reported last Friday:  “Beijing reiterated its belief that developing countries, including China, should curb emissions on a voluntary basis, and only if the cuts ‘accord with their national situations and sustainable development strategies.’”  Translation:  We’re not setting a domestic carbon price.  The Chinese are proposing that the U.S. and other rich nations choose answer (B) Carrots from my menu above:  rich countries pay China to reduce their emissions.
  • It appears that Dr. Krugman believes Chinese leaders will not be swayed by option (A) Leadership:  “And once America acts, we can expect much of the world to follow our lead.  But that still leaves the problem of China …”  I largely agree with him on this point.
  • Dr. Krugman appears to presume that we must slow the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions starting now.  I disagree with Dr. Krugman on this point, and am more persuaded by Dr. Bjorn Lomborg.  The state of technology is such that economic costs of near-term emissions reductions are high, and the long-term climate benefits are small.  As an example, Dr. Lomborg estimates that $1 expended through the Kyoto agreement would produce the equivalent of about 30 cents of long-term climate benefits.  To the extent you believe long-term climate change must be addressed, we are better off devoting resources to technology pushes that try to reduce the cost of carbon-reducing technologies.  The less expensive these technologies, the easier it is for everyone to make significant emissions reductions, and the easier it would be to get a global emissions reduction agreement that includes China and India (presuming you think such an agreement is necessary).
  • Since Dr. Krugman believes that we must persuade the Chinese to change their growth path “because the planet can’t handle the strain,” he appears to conclude that we should threaten a carbon import tariff.  His phrasing is quite careful, but he is clearly floating the idea:

As the United States and other advanced countries finally move to confront climate change, they will also be morally empowered to confront those nations that refuse to act. Sooner than most people think, countries that refuse to limit their greenhouse gas emissions will face sanctions, probably in the form of taxes on their exports. They will complain bitterly that this is protectionism, but so what? Globalization doesn’t do much good if the globe itself becomes unlivable.

  • Technically, Dr. Krugman does not say (1) the U.S. (2) should propose (3) a carbon import tariff.  He instead predicts that “sanctions, probably in the form of taxes on their exports” will be imposed by unnamed countries “sooner than most people think.”  By itself, this is only a prediction,  But in the following two bolded sentences, he endorses such “sanctions, probably in the form of taxes on [Chinese] exports” by unnamed countries.  With this clever phrasing, Dr. Krugman has floated an aggressive but ultimately deniable policy proposal:  a carbon import tariff.
  • I believe there are cures that are worse than the disease.  An import tariff would be protectionist (Dr. Krugman concedes this point).  In the context of a global climate change negotiation in which different countries are establishing different domestic carbon prices, and in which two of the world’s largest economies (China and India) refuse to do the same, it is easy to see how a carbon import tariff by the U.S. could set off a global trade war, with potentially devastating effects on the world economy.  It appears that Dr. Krugman is willing to bear the increased risk of a global trade war for the benefit of an increased probability that China (and India?) will slow their greenhouse gas emissions.  I am not.

For completeness, my answer to my own strategic question is “(D) None of the above.”

  • Even if the U.S. establishes a domestic carbon price through a cap-and-trade or carbon tax, diplomacy alone will be unable to convince the Chinese and Indian leaders to do the same in their countries.   Option (A) Diplomacy won’t work by itself.
  • Without reductions in Chinese and Indian emissions, I expect that the total climate benefits of the likely global reductions in future emissions growth would not be worth the economic costs to the U.S. of a domestic carbon price (in the near term).
  • I oppose the U.S. paying large developing countries like China and India to reduce their emissions.  I am confident the U.S. Congress would agree with this view.  Option (B) will not happen in the U.S., nor should it.
  • Because I think the risks of significant damage from severe climate change are small, and the costs of near-term emissions reductions using current technology are high, and because I am deeply concerned that a carbon import tariff might provoke a global trade war, I strongly oppose option (C) Sticks, including any form of carbon import tariff.  Free trade, including with China, is more important to me than the possibility of creating leverage on Chinese leaders to try to change their energy development path.
  • We are not talking about small numbers here.  China thinks developed countries should contribute 1/2 – 1 percent of GDP to help poorer countries cut their emissions, and the economic effects of domestic carbon prices are measured in the same orders of magnitude.  When you’re measuring things in percent of GDP, you’re shooting with real bullets.  I oppose imposing such a tariff, threatening one, or even floating the idea as Dr. Krugman has done.
  • Therefore, I conclude the best policy is for the U.S. not to impose a domestic carbon price in the near future.  To the extent policymakers believe severe climate change is a risk that should be addressed, I instead recommend they focus on pushing carbon-reducing technology R&D, and reducing tariffs and other trade barriers to the exchange of such technologies, as Dan Price has recommended.
  • I would be comfortable with the U.S. contributing taxpayer funds to a joint international R&D effort, if it were an alternative to a domestic carbon price, and as long as U.S. firms maintained their property rights to such research.

I have tremendous respect for Dr. Krugman’s past work as an international economist.  I am surprised that he is willing to risk a global trade war, and that he would apparently fire the first shot when the global economy is so weak.

 [点击查看Keith Hennessey的英文博客]  [Keith Hennessey的中国博客]

 

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