We’ve made it onto Boing Boing again. Why? For levying the world’s first carbon tariff! On North Dakota!

“Carbon tariffs are a way for countries that do control CO2 to level the economic playing field against ones that don’t‚Äîyou simply tariff imported goods that are cheap because of polluting so that the price better reflects the damage done, and so that the cleaner country can compete.” At least, that was the idea; no one figured it would be state-to-state rather than country-to-country. But Minnesota beat any country to the punch by passing a measure to stop carbon at its border with North Dakota.

If this seems a little weird, you should probably understand that Minnesota has been generally pushing for cleaner power within its borders (it’s no California, but it’s doing better on this than most states), but the utility companies that operate here have, over the past decades, sited a lot of coal power plants on the relatively cheap and open land of North Dakota. My guess would be that this is a way of extending policy to cover more of the energy used within the state, even though it happens to be produced elsewhere, while simultaneously spurring investment (theoretically in both Minnesota and North Dakota, as only coal-power electricity is affected) in renewable energy development.