A Carbon Border Adjustment (CBA) mechanism is a tool to support the EU's climate leadership by reflecting the carbon intensity of products imported into the EU, such as steel. This mechanism is important because EU producers have the highest environmental and climate protection goals in the world - and higher production costs that accompany this effort.
The European steel industry is therefore at very high risk of carbon leakage - the loss of sales to cheaply-priced, carbon-intense imports. Avoiding the risk of carbon leakage is a pre-condition for preserving both the environmental integrity of EU climate policy and industrial competitiveness since it contributes to reducing emissions at a global level while maintaining jobs and investments in Europe. This will also be instrumental in facilitating the social acceptance of EU leadership in climate ambition.
The European Green Deal underlines that the risk of carbon leakage can materialise in different forms, 'either because production is transferred from the EU to other countries with lower ambition for emission reduction, or because EU products are replaced by more carbon-intensive imports'. As long as there is no international binding agreement with a global carbon price and equivalent efforts, it is essential that the EU legislation adopts effective measures that avoid all forms of leakage in the short and medium terms.
The carbon border adjustment measure should be applied for a transition period until breakthrough technologies reach sufficient market penetration and CO2-lean products represent a critical mass in the market. It represents a broader contribution to a clean planet, as it is also an effective tool of political diplomacy to foster climate ambition in third countries so that deeper emission reductions are delivered globally.
Brussels, 18 December 2022 – On Saturday night EU institutions agreed on the revision of the Emissions Trading System following an earlier agreement on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. The final text sets new rules for the upcoming years until 2030, which constitute a critical period for the uptake of low carbon technologies at industrial scale in the steel sector. While the ETS revision introduces some stronger incentives for the uptake of new technologies to decarbonise industry, a pre-defined free allocation phase-out trajectory risks wiping out a large part of EU steel exports worth €45 billion if no concrete export solution is found before 2026, warns the European Steel Association.
Brussels, 14 December 2022 – The future of European industry is at stake, threatened by an unresolved energy crisis, impacted by unilateral decarbonisation costs, and undermined by trading partners’ new regulatory frameworks to massively subsidise local investment with more predictable measures. In the coming days, EU leaders will make fundamental decisions for Europe's industrial future. Against the backdrop of the EU energy crisis and the US Inflation Reduction Act, the EU must urgently develop and implement an industrial policy mainstreaming industrial competitiveness in all policy fields and take decisive action to enable the green transition as well as to enhance the resilience of industry. This is a unique opportunity for the EU to remain a frontrunner in climate policy, says the European Steel Association.
The current economic context reinforces the case for a watertight CBAM with a cautious free allocation phase out and a tangible export solution