European authorities are preparing to enact ambitious legislation designed to phase one of the world’s largest and most polluting economies away from fossil fuels much faster than other nations have committed to doing. Proposals could include phasing out coal as a source of electricity, as well as imposing tariffs on polluting imports – an idea that has the potential to resolve global trade disputes.
The European Commission’s package of nearly a dozen legislative proposals expected on Wednesday is to rapidly reduce emissions of planet-warming gases and ambitious climate goalThe 27-nation bloc said it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
The legislation is expected to contrast sharply with the vague desire of various other countries to neutralize their emissions by the middle of the century. “It’s not just a big promise,” said Jennifer Tollmann, a Berlin-based analyst at E3G, a research and advocacy group working on climate policy.
The offers known as “fit for 55” are just that – offers. It will take months to negotiate between the 27 member states and the European Parliament before it becomes law. And they will certainly invite you to examine Europe’s reliance on extracting and burning fossil fuels on its territory, from oil and gas drilling in the North Sea to coal mining in countries like Germany and Poland.
The most controversial element is something called the border carbon regulation tax. It would impose tariffs on greenhouse gas emissions associated with products imported from outside the European Union, and indeed protect European companies from goods manufactured in countries with less stringent climate policies. According to one, among the products it can target Draft leaked in June, steel, cement, iron and fertilizers.
Not only will this carbon border tax shake up global trade and invite a conflict over protectionism in the World Trade Organization, it could also create new diplomatic fault lines ahead of the international climate talks in Glasgow in November.
The meeting in Glasgow is an important moment for major emitting nations to show what they will do to address the greenhouse gas emissions that are putting the world on a dangerous warming path. The scientists said the world as a whole would need to halve emissions by 2030, which would require the biggest polluters in history, namely the United States and Europe, to make the sharpest and fastest cuts.
All eyes are on the targets set by the USA and China, which currently produce the largest share of greenhouse gases, and more importantly on how they will achieve these targets.
It is still unclear exactly which products the tax will target. The United States, for example, is particularly concerned about the potential impact on steel produced in the United States, and it is not yet clear whether the border duty proposal will take into account the carbon emission intensity of imported steel.
The United States is in a difficult position regarding a possible European border tax. The Biden administration is keen to re-establish transatlantic alliances, including on climate change. Still, without the prospect of carbon pricing legislation in the United States, few US companies may be vulnerable.
The Biden administration has shaken the prospect of a carbon cap tax on its own, though prospects will likely be weak in a divided Congress. “This is definitely not off the table in any of the discussions,” said White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy. said at a conference on Tuesday Edited by Bloomberg. “There are many ways to look at a carbon cap adjustment here as an opportunity.”
Other aspects of the legislative package may be controversial within the 27-nation European bloc itself. For example, efforts to phase out sales of new internal combustion engine cars may face objections from some European automakers. (Bloomberg reported this week that France opposes the proposed 2035 ban on sales of new gas-fired cars.) Efforts to phase out coal from power generation will likely face opposition from countries with large coal operations, such as Poland and Hungary.
The timing of the European draft legislation is key, designed to highlight Europe’s position in advancing climate policies and put pressure on other major emitters, including China and the US.
“This will be the first attempt to say we have a set of policies, very precise policies, alongside the numbers we have committed to,” said Laurence Tubiana, president of the European Climate Foundation and former chief climate negotiator for France. United Nations climate talks said in an email statement.