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Today, the President of the United States (whom I admit I voted for in a key swing state) took the correct course to pull out of the hilariously ineffective and ridiculously unfair Paris Climate Agreement. Which, of course, left me wondering what would an actually effective and fair climate agreement look like? I think the following outline below which I came up with in a couple minutes will suffice to make everyone understand the necessary scope of a climate agreement that might actually work at achieving its stated aims.

1. Convene the top four emitters of greenhouse gasses (currently China, the United States, India, and Russia).

2. Make this a binding treaty, not an executive agreement, which every country of the original four must ratify within a year after the treaty’s negotiation for it to come into effect.

3. Get this treaty to state that each of the four countries must institute a carbon tax increasing by 20 U.S. CPI-adjusted dollars per ton of carbon dioxide every year from the treaty’s coming into effect and impose climate-equivalent taxes on all the other greenhouse gasses. Absolutely no source of greenhouse gasses should be in any way exempt.

4. The treaty should be designed with the intent of one country joining the treaty each year, in order from largest to smallest emitter of greenhouse gasses (i.e., Japan in 2018 followed by Germany in 2019 followed by Iran in 2020 followed by South Korea in 2021 and so on). This is to encourage countries to compete to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions before they even join the treaty. To encourage countries to join the treaty, a flat tariff on all goods and services exports, increasing by 20 percentage points each year, should be imposed by all the countries in the agreement on the countries that don’t join in the above-mentioned order.

5. Every ten years, there is to be a verification whether the treaty countries are actually enforcing the necessary tax(es). Cheaters are to be determined by a majority of countries within the treaty. They are to be punished by mandatory retaliatory tariffs levied by all the other countries in the treaty in proportion to the cheating country’s lack of enforcement it should have done by the treaty’s requirements.

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