Tellingly, it was concern about the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), the EU’s proposed carbon tariff on carbon-intensive products, that pushed Moscow to get more serious about lowering emissions. Paul Hockenos investigates.
This summer the European Commission finally unveiled their “Fit for 55” policy package. Aimed at ensuring the European Union reduces emissions and reaches climate neutrality by 2050, a key part of their plan is phasing in a “Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism” or CBAM. Framed as a pollution solution, it’s been met with howls of protest, threats of trade wars and frustration from many corners.
In July the European Commission unveiled its Fit for 55 package aimed at pushing EU member states to reduce emissions by at least net 55% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030. One of the most widely anticipated parts of the package – at least among policy wonks – is the introduction of the world’s first carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). Intended to level the playing field between domestic and foreign producers of cement, steel, aluminum, fertilizers and electricity, CBAM’s real litmus test will be if it actually reduces overall emissions and incentivizes a greening economy both within and without the EU. But given how controversial and relatively weak the CBAM proposal is out of the gate, critics worry its presence will only distract from more effective climate strategies in the Fit for 55 plan. Worse, despite COP 26 in Glasgow, pushing CBAM could spark an international trade war. Lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum reviews the growing debate. Listen to our podcast on CBAM.