Assuming humans are affecting the climate, do the strategies the United States imposes on its own people actually help?

It is assumed that greenhouse gases anywhere affect the climate everywhere. As an engineer and economist, I have learned that if I can formulate my assumptions to an extreme, it sometimes makes the answer to a problem obvious that otherwise would have too many unknowns to come to a confident conclusion.

So, for example, if we send all the high-carbon oil from Canada or Venezuela to China instead of the U.S., will that “help”? Well, the U.S. has the largest, most efficient refineries in the world with huge hydrotreaters that force hydrogen (from water) into the oil, resulting in a less carbon-intensive product. Likewise, our steel plants are more efficient than incremental production in China. So, instead of taxing or limiting CO2 production in the U.S. (and not in China until, maybe, 2030), perhaps (instead of exporting our money and green technology via the Green Climate Fund) we should tax the carbon footprint of our imports relative to U.S. production of the same products. This would reduce world greenhouse gases, encourage U.S. green technology and add manufacturing jobs here. Win-win.

David Bittner

retired economist/engineer

Baton Rouge