Reproduced from Energy Institute at HAAS; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new working paper finds that trade barriers worldwide are generally lower for carbon-intensive goods than cleaner products, creating a large "implicit subsidy to CO2 emissions."

Why it matters: UC Berkeley economist Joseph Shapiro pegs this "subsidy" at $550 billion to $800 billion annually, making it harder to fight climate change.

How it works: The paper explores tariffs (shown above) and other import penalties on a vast array of goods.

  • Penalties are generally lower on "dirtier" sectors — think metals and petrochemicals for instance — used as manufacturing inputs for consumer goods.
  • Shapiro concludes that ending the trade restriction imbalance between "dirty" and "clean" industries would help curb emissions.

The bottom line: "The resulting change in global CO2 emissions has similar magnitude to the estimated effects of some of the world’s largest actual or proposed climate change policies," Shapiro writes.

Why you'll hear about this again: The EU is planning "carbon border adjustments" to keep domestic industries from being undercut by competitors in nations without climate policies.

  • Plus, White House hopeful Joe Biden's platform vows "fees or quotas on carbon-intensive goods from countries that are failing to meet their climate and environmental obligations."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Filibuster and Obama fossil fuel ties could slow Biden's climate ambitions

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Two new stories, taken together, highlight the political push-pull around Joe Biden's climate and energy plans.

Driving the news: Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that some left activists "want Biden to distance himself from former Obama administration advisers they view as either too moderate or too cozy with the fossil fuel industry."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Report: Goldman to settle DOJ probe into Malaysia's 1MDB for over $2B

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Goldman Sachs has agreed with the Department of Justice to pay over $2 billion for the bank's role in Malaysia's multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: The settlement, expected to be announced within days, would allow Goldman Sachs to avoid a criminal conviction in the U.S. over the bribery and money laundering scandal that saw three of its former bankers banned for life from the banking industry by the Federal Reserve Board.