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Media Briefing on Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

May 26, 2023 4:00 am - 5:00 am CEST



The EU's pioneering Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is the beginning of new policies to come. Several other countries are considering similar measures to tackle emissions-intensive heavily traded sectors and as more jurisdictions implement carbon pricing, they will have to grapple with how to cover these sectors without chasing emissions and jobs to other jurisdictions with lower carbon costs. Border Carbon Adjustments (BCAs) are seen as a policy response addressing these challenges, but they also pose significant risks for developing countries.  Among them, the lack of harmonization in reporting and certification requirements, not considering the circumstances of developing country exporters concerning access to low-carbon capital investments, GHG accounting, low-carbon transition, and the potential rise of protectionist measures that could be associated to BCAs.  


This media briefing organized by IISD aims to provide journalists with an accurate, impartial, and evidence-based analysis of the key choices governments make in designing border carbon adjustment policies and the implications these choices have for trading partners. 

Alice Tipping, Director of Trade and Sustainable Development at IISD, will give a concise state of play on the political landscape for CBAM. Aaron Cosbey, Senior Associate at IISD and a global expert on border carbon adjustment policies, will walk participants through key choices in CBAM design, and the tensions governments are grappling with. Bryce Baschuk, Reporter at Bloomberg News, will open the discussion. Participants will then have the opportunity to ask Mr. Cosbey their own questions about both the present and the future of border carbon adjustments, as well as what this could mean for specific sectors and regions.

Some of the key questions that we hope to answer:

  • What are Border Carbon Adjustments (BCAs) and why are they part of policy response to climate change?
  • What is the current political landscape regarding BCAs, and which countries might follow the EU in setting up their own instruments?
  • What are the potential impacts of BCAs on global trade, particularly for developing countries? What are the main sectors concerned? 
  • How do BCAs work in practice, and what key elements make a difference in how they work?
  • What tensions are governments grappling with as they think about BCAs?


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