A big chill in global-warming bill
Threats against imports from countries that don't fight climate change will backfire on the US.
A red flag should go up over one effort in Congress to make America go green.
The main global-warming bill on Capitol Hill calls for the president to slap stiff barriers on imports from other countries that don't reduce their carbon emissions in comparable ways.
Such a trade restriction is aimed at helping US industries stay competitive once they are forced to pay higher energy costs under a climate-change law. The US could see many of its industries move to other countries with lesser or no curbs on greenhouse gases, a possibility called "carbon leakage."
Or, less-expensive goods from those countries could flood the American market.
The provision in the House measure on climate change is why President Obama pitches this legislation as a "jobs bill."
But it isn't one, really.
This restriction could trigger a wave of global trade protectionism that would ultimately hurt the US economy – the largest exporter in the world, and one in which 40 percent of jobs are dependent on trade.