How will domestic manufacturing fare in Copenhagen?
Posted by jeckert on 12/18/2009
Statement from Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Executive Director Scott Paul regarding the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen: "Domestic manufacturing companies and their workers face a number of challenges including competition from countries that do not enforce already weak environmental standards. A climate treaty in Copenhagen will not work, and will be rejected by the United States Senate, unless it contains strict and effective independent monitoring and verification of each country's claimed emission cuts. Any solution to the climate change problem must include full global participation, especially from China, the leading emitter of industrial carbon dioxide. "China, in particular, has a poor track record of enforcing its environmental protection rules. As detailed in a March 2009 AAM report, China enjoys massive advantages through its lack of environmental regulation and weak enforcement. Senators from the industrial heartland have seen their states' manufacturers hit hard by China's mercantilist trade policies and it will be difficult to convince them that China would, in fact, meet its goal of reducing carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent and not look for a way to gain yet another advantage over U.S. workers. "AAM stands with Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Arlen Specter, and others who recognize that any climate change solution must ensure that manufacturing is given new life rather than dealt another blow that will send more jobs to China and countries that lack enforceable regimes. Those who cast a border adjustment mechanism as 'protectionist' are missing the point and should rethink their position based on the Chinese position in Copenhagen. From both an economic and environmental standpoint, you cannot effectively deal with global climate change without also dealing with the trade implications of pricing carbon for our industrial sector." A groundbreaking March 2009 assessment of environmental regulation of the steel industry in China, researched by experts in China and released by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, noted the following:
- An economist serving in China's Ministry of Commerce told The New York Times that, with respect to steel, "the shortfall of environmental protection is one of the main reasons why our exports are cheaper."
- Each year 750,000 Chinese die prematurely because of air pollution.
- On smoggy days in Los Angeles, one-fourth of the air pollution (particulate matter) can be traced to China. Levels of pollution are three to twenty times higher per ton of steel produced in China than in the U.S., depending on the specific pollutant and industrial process analyzed.
- The U.S. EPA's enforcement bureau has a budget of $700 million. The Chinese Ministry of the Environment has a budget of $600,000. In Shanghai, 50 officers are responsible for inspecting 20,000 factories.
- In China, the maximum amount a company can be fined for non-compliance with environmental standards is around $14,000 for most violations and repeated offenses do not bring increased penalties. Some companies choose to pay the fine rather than pay for pollution control. In the U.S., however, companies that violate the Clean Air Act may incur penalties of as much as $32,500 per day of violation.
- Since 1990, American steelmakers have voluntarily reduced the energy required to produce one ton of steel by 33% (AISI).
- The American Steel Industry is ahead of Kyoto greenhouse emission goals by 240% (AISI).
- Three-fourths of all American steel ends up recycled into new products (AISI).
- American Steel Industry air and water emissions are 90% lower than a decade ago (AISI).
- Chinese steel production generates 2.5 tons of carbon per ton of steel, while U.S. steel production generates only about half as much--1.2 tons of carbon per ton of steel (AISI/Slattery testimony from 2008).
- Some industry sources estimate that Chinese emissions are much higher, at around 4 or 5 tons (Slattery testimony from 2008).
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