CCL's stance on Carbon Border Adustments?

Hello everyone! I’m Gigi Santo, a highschool student and Florida Broward chapter leader. I've been reading some articles on carbon border adjustment fees, and I'm wondering, does Citizens Climate Lobby intend on putting more significant support behind carbon border adjustment legislation during these next two years? I know it was a significant part of the EICDA, so I'm wondering if CCL National has its eyes open for a carbon border adjustment bill to add to the host of bills we lobby for. 

I feel a carbon border adjustment policy would be extremely important to lobby for, mainly because the passing of a carbon border adjustment could lay the grounds for the future passing of a carbon fee and dividend policy. To my understanding, many conservatives hold off on supporting the carbon fee and dividend because of the potential international disadvantages that might come with it. Several experts in the field have suggested passing a carbon border adjustment legislation first might be the path forward to an eventual carbon fee and dividend.

  I also think carbon border adjustment legislation is worth supporting because of its strong bipartisan appeal. Several Republicans, like Bill Cassidy, outright support a carbon border adjustment and have introduced their own related legislation or supported it. With the current congressional split, any bill that is going to be passed into law needs to appeal to both parties, and I believe the carbon border adjustment does exactly that.

I believe these next two years would be a very opportune time to support this policy. Passing a carbon border adjustment is a win we could realistically accomplish with the sitting congress. It's a perfect time to set the stage for a big push for the carbon fee and dividend. Not to mention it’s kind of a win within itself. In combination with CBAMs from the E.U., Canada, and most likely Japan as well, big polluters will face a giant incentive to clean up. I’d love to hear others' opinions on all this, and I’m very curious to learn how CCL will interact with this policy in the future!

11 Replies

Hi @Giovanna Santo! Yes, we expect some carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) bills to be introduced in the relatively near future this Congress, and then CCL will evaluate them and the potential to support them.  Ideally we'd want to see a CBAM coupled with a domestic carbon price, but a CBAM by itself can have some beneficial effects and get conservative MOCs dipping their toes in carbon pricing-related waters.

In the meantime, we have a CBAM training page and Nerd Corner forum posts on the EU CBAM and potential for a UK CBAM, if you're interested 🤓

@Dana Nuccitelli Hi Dana, thank you for responding! I've checked it out, I'm glad to hear that.

Karl Danz
41 Posts

@Giovanna Santo - Thanks for getting this conversation started.  I agree that CBAM is a good area for CCL engagement and action.
Here's some breaking news regarding the EU's plans:


I appreciate this conversation and I’m sorry for jumping in late here. If it’s better to start a new thread, I am happy to do that.

I think a carbon border adjustment mechanism coupled with a domestic carbon price is a good idea. I also think the PROVE IT Act would be good to pass. I am worried about CBAM legislation without a domestic carbon price because it seems that would be anti-climate justice. If we make other countries pay a carbon price while we do not pay it, aren’t we making the people less responsible for causing climate change pay more of the cost of addressing it? As an advocate for climate justice, I believe the opposite should happen - we, as the world’s highest emitter historically, should be the first to pay for addressing climate change and should pay our fair share, i.e. more than other countries. If I’m missing something here, please let me know. I’m interested to hear others’ thoughts on this.

Laura Haule
235 Posts
Brady Fergusson‍  This training on the CCL Community site is available to watch or read.  It addresses your questions well:  

Also, as @Dana Nuccitelli says below, when CBAM bills are introduced in our Congress, CCL will evaluate and makes decisions on whether CCL can support them.
Thank you for your interest.

Hi @Brady Fergusson. We would certainly prefer to implement a domestic carbon price along with a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). That's why the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act includes both! 🤓 But if we're presented with the opportunity to pass a bipartisan CBAM bill that only imposes a carbon fee on imports, we have to take that step in the right direction.

I don't think it will have a significantly adverse effect on developing countries. There have been a variety of estimates of the EU CBAM's impact on African countries for example, and there's a lot of uncertainty, but most agree that it will reduce their gross domestic products by less than 1%.  And as more countries adopt similar CBAMs, the result will become similar to a global carbon price, which is something African leaders just called for.

What we really need is for developed countries to step up their financial aid to assist developing countries in the transition to a green economy, and then CBAMs will have even less impact on them. And of course we'll continue to advocate for a domestic carbon price in the US as well as a CBAM.

@Laura Haule thanks!

@Dana Nuccitelli thank you, that’s helpful for me.

@Dana Nuccitelli @Brady Fergusson  I agree with Dana on the need for increased aid to developing countries, both as a matter of equity and self-interest. Some poorer countries could be hurt pretty hard by the EU's CBAM, however. I discuss the technical evidence and proposed solutions at length toward the bottom of the Nerd Corner thread “BAM: Europe gets ready to pull the trigger on a carbon border adjustment.

@Dana Nuccitelli Wow Dana! I love the idea that several CBAMs from different countries could work as a global carbon price. You put into words why I’m so passionate about CBAMs. Hopefully we see some movement with the PROVE IT Act!!

@Brady Fergusson Hey Brady! I agree that climate justice should be a priority. The main country that will be affected is China, the present highest emitter. If we can integrate Dana’s idea of aid to developing countries, that could maybe make up for any difficulties experienced by other importers.

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