European Parliament backs carbon tax on selected imports

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Europe: Members of the European Parliament (MEP) have adopted a resolution supporting a European Union (EU) carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). If enacted by the EU then a carbon tax could be levied on certain goods imported from outside the EU that don’t meet local decarbonisation standards. MEPs stressed that it should be World Trade Organisation compatible and not be misused as a tool to enhance protectionism.

The new mechanism is intended to be part of a broader EU industrial strategy and cover all imports of products and commodities covered by the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS). MEPs add that already by 2023, and following an impact assessment, it should cover the power sector and energy-intensive industrial sectors like cement, steel, aluminium, oil refinery, paper, glass, chemicals and fertilisers, which continue to receive substantial free allocations, and still represent 94% of EU industrial emissions.

“The CBAM is a great opportunity to reconcile climate, industry, employment, resilience, sovereignty and relocation issues. We must stop being naïve and impose the same carbon price on products, whether they are produced in or outside the EU, to ensure the most polluting sectors also take part in fighting climate change and innovate towards zero carbon. This is our best chance of remaining below the 1.5°C warming limit, whilst also pushing our trading partners to be equally ambitious in order to enter the EU market,” said EU Parliament rapporteur Yannick Jadot.

The European Commission is expected to present a legislative proposal on a CBAM in the second quarter of 2021 as part of the European Green Deal as well as a proposal on how to include the revenue generated to finance part of the EU budget.


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