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U.S. to Set Up Global Carbon Leakage Task Force

The U.S. federal government will create a special task force to deal with global carbon emissions from trade and manufacturing activities.

The news came from John Podesta, the new U.S. climate envoy set to replace John Kerry.

In a speech at an event at Columbia University, Podesta called global trade “an elephant in the room…one that’s producing a lot of emissions” and went on to say that governments needed to harness international economic systems for climate action.

It was to this end that the Climate and Trade Task Force was being set up, to address the imperfections of current international trade systems and make them more climate-friendly by motivating emissions reduction across the globe.

The task force will tackle problems such as carbon leakage, which is the case of high-emission production moving from a country with strict emission rules to one where rules are weaker. What Podesta called “carbon dumping” will also be a focus area for the new entity—when goods produced in a country with laxer emission restrictions end up exported to a country with more stringent climate rules.

By way of illustration, Podesta said “Today, over half of the world’s aluminum is made in China, where the average ton of aluminum produces 60% more emissions than it does in the U.S.

This is a bad story for the American workers who lost their jobs and the American communities that were hollowed out.” The official added that aluminum production globally is “dirtier than it needs to be”.

Besides seeking to reduce carbon leakage and dumping, “We will work closely with trade partners to develop standardized and authoritative ways of measuring embodied emissions so that each country can harness comparative advantages in clean manufacturing,” Podesta said.

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The task force will also accumulate and process emissions data that will be used as the foundation for new climate and trade policies, the incoming U.S. climate envoy also said.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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