11 November 2020

Carbon border tax must be based on real data verified by independent experts – ECOS views

ECOS replied to a recent public consultation by the European Commission regarding the upcoming carbon border adjustment mechanism, highlighting the need for a fair implementation supported by accurate data.

The carbon tax mechanism is taking shape as a public consultation on the topic closes. In our answer to the call, we urged the European Commission to pay close attention to a number of implementation aspects, and especially to the greenhouse gas emission accounting standard to be used by the mechanism.  

The greenhouse gas emission accounting methodology is a key choice to make: a product benchmark based on averages might be far from reality and hide important disparities; other accounting methodologies might be closer to real life but not specific enough to allow their results to be comparable; others still might be precise enough but require more data… Some cover the entire product life cycle, while other focus only on the manufacturing stage of the product.

A new European carbon border policy should be as fair as possible towards importers; work as an incentive towards product manufacturers in third countries to improve the carbon footprint of their processes; and the methodology chosen should be based on actual emissions data, independently verified.

The introduction of the carbon tax was announced in December 2019 as part of the European Green Deal – at the same time as the EU reinforced its pledge to go carbon neutral by 2050. The idea behind this proposal is to charge levies on imported products to compensate the carbon charges to which products manufactured within the EU are subject.

Back in March, the European Commission published a roadmap for the carbon adjustment border mechanism, planning for a legislative proposal to be adopted in 2021. However, many details regarding its scope, shape and form still remain unknown.

ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

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