Climate change and carbon tariffs

Dr Ben Habib made this video presentation for students in the 3rd year undergraduate subject Issues in Global Politics (POL3IPP) at La Trobe University, coordinated by Dr Michael O’Keefe. POL3IPP students selected carbon tariffs as a topic for their “gap analysis” assessment, in which the class identified topics for further analysis which they had not previously explored through their studies in the International Relations program.

In this video…

  • 1. Carbon pricing mechanisms in global context.
  • 2. Introduce the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) proposal.
  • 3. Discuss potential impacts of the CBAM beyond the European Union.

Summary: Carbon tariffs are emerging as a key element in the broader evolution of carbon price mechanisms and their roll-out across the world. There is a clear ecological signal of increasingly frequent and severe climate change impacts, illustrating obvious threats to life and significant economic damages. There is a clear market signal in the carbon bubble and the accelerating decarbonization of global energy systems, combined with increasing calls for strong climate action from business sectors outside of carbon-intensive industries. There is a clear political signal from the growing global climate change movement that current action from governments is not enough. However, the international trade architecture is not well designed for the climate change era, and a vision for pricing carbon that remains embryonic at the international level. This is the context in which carbon tariffs have emerged as a policy instrument for states that want to implement climate mitigation policies without compromising their economic competitiveness.