Belgium: Environmental campaign group Sandbag says that research it has conducted has shown that proposed tariffs can protect European Union (EU) cement from ‘dirty’ competition and reward EU companies that produce low-carbon cement. It has released its data ahead of the a vote by the European Parliament in mid-February 2017 to decide on whether to adopt a new border adjustment mechanism (BAM) proposed by the Parliament’s Environment Committee.
The non-government organisation says that a BAM would require importers of cement and clinker into the EU to surrender emissions permits corresponding to the embedded carbon in their products, in the same way that domestic EU cement manufacturers are required to do at present. At the same time, cement, would no longer receive free allocation.
Previous research carried out by Sandbag suggests that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has driven cement emissions higher, whilst other European and national regulations and product standards discriminate against low-carbon cement companies. Over the last decade, the EU carbon market may have delivered more than Euro4.7bn in ‘windfall’ profits to cement companies. However, Sandbag say that border taxes could set cement producers on a level playing field by harmonising incentives to reduce product emissions within the EU.
“The EU can now implement a pragmatic and politically feasible solution for boosting low-carbon cement in Europe, and ending the scandal of enormous windfall profits to cement companies. However, this isn’t simply about cement. In a world of developing carbon markets with no unified set of rules, it is necessary to account for discrepancies in order to avoid offshoring of production,” said Wilf Lytton, an analyst at Sandbag.