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.
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Brussels, 10 March 2021 – The European Parliament has today voted on its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) resolution, prior to a legislative proposal expected to be published by the European Commission in June. The resolution passed with a firm majority; Parliamentarians agreed on the principle that the EU’s higher climate ambition requires improved carbon leakage protection.
On 5 February the European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) voted on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) with 58 votes for, 8 against and 10 abstentions.