Washington, D.C.– Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, today criticized Commerce Secretary Gary Locke’s recent comments that U.S. consumers should pay China for the “carbon content” of imported goods.
“China and other developing nations are trying to skip out on the bill when it comes to climate change. U.S. Administration officials shouldn’t hold the door open for them. Secretary Locke should assure U.S. consumers they won’t be forced to pay for China’s carbon emissions,” Sensenbrenner said.
“Asking American consumers to pay for China’s carbon output will further erode competitiveness, and is simply unfair. It puts the financial burden of reducing emissions exclusively on the shoulders of American consumers. China doesn’t manufacture products as a favor to Americans. Manufacturing creates revenue and jobs, jobs that Americans need right now,” Sensenbrenner said.
Sensenbrenner joined seven other leading members of Congress in writing Locke to seek clarification on his speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, where press reports quoted him saying: “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.”
“Secretary Locke’s comments raise grave concerns over the Administration’s commitment to striking a fair balance in an international climate agreement,” Sensenbrenner said. “With ‘cap and tax’ legislation pending, putting American businesses at an even greater global disadvantage is a disastrous proposition”
The letter asks Locke to explain what he meant in stating that American consumers should pay for the “carbon content” of goods produced in other countries and asks how this cost would be determined. Additionally, the letter requests documentation of the analysis done on the trade implication of an additional carbon tax on American consumers.
“China has refused to commit to binding emissions caps and without international support, efforts to reduce global emissions will be futile,” Sensenbrenner said.
Joining Sensenbrenner on the letter were: House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Republican, Dave Camp, Mich.; House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Republican Joe Barton, Texas; House Oversight Committee Ranking Republican Darrell Issa, Calif; House Science Committee Ranking Republican Ralph Hall, Texas; House Energy and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Republican Fred Upton, Mich.; House Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Republican Greg Walden, Ore.; House Science Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Ranking Republican Paul Broun, Ga.
Click here for the letter.