Comment on Government consultation on carbon import tariffs

ECIU's Climate and Land Lead on consultation on Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

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By George Smeeton

Information on this page correct as of:

Responding to a report by the Environmental Audit Committee [1], the UK Government confirms that it plans to consult on introducing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. This tool would potentially allow the climate contribution of imports to the UK to be reflected in tariffs and could help to prevent "emissions leakage" where high-carbon industries leave the UK, relocate elsewhere, and then import back to the UK.

Commenting, Matt Williams, Climate and Land Programme Lead at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said:

"The Australia trade deal was signed and sealed without any real measures in place to address the climate contribution of imports such as high-carbon beef produced on deforested land.

“The British public are clear they don’t want lower standards and UK farmers don’t want to be undermined by poorer-quality produce with a high impact on our natural world. The UK needs to develop a coherent strategy on trade if it’s to keep the public on board and farmers in business."

Notes to editors:

1. Greening imports: a UK carbon border approach: Government Response to the Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2021–22 is published on 21 June.

2. Polling by Unchecked published in 2021 showed no enthusiasm among voters in the "red wall" for lower food standards as a way to bring down food prices:

3. The Environmental Audit Committee conducted an inquiry on carbon border adjustment mechanisms in 2021: