Understanding The EU Carbon Border Tax
自芬蘭於 1990 年首次實施碳定價以來，已經過去了 30 年。多年來，其他歐洲國家也紛紛效仿，從波蘭和烏克蘭等每公噸碳排放的不到 1 美元到瑞典等超過 100 美元，收取不同的價格，它目前擁有世界上最昂貴的碳稅之一。這些稅收在對何種溫室氣體徵稅的標准上也有所不同。例如，西班牙只對氟化氣體徵稅，氟化氣體僅佔該國溫室氣體 (GHG) 排放總量的 3%。而挪威的碳稅佔其溫室氣體排放總量的 60% 以上。一般來說，碳稅可適用於溫室氣體，如二氧化碳 (CO2)、甲烷、氟化氣體和一氧化二氮。
此後，歐盟 (EU) 於 2005 年對當地製造商徵收碳稅。它通過排放交易系統對每公噸碳排放徵稅約 68 美元，該系統設定了排放量的年度限制並創造了一個市場用於排放許可交易。然而，據稱該法規會導致碳洩漏，其中歐盟製造商將失去對氣候變化法規更為寬鬆的海外製造商的銷售。為了克服這一點，以及促進對製造和供應鏈管理採取更可持續和環保的方法，歐盟提出了 2019 年 12 月首次推出的歐洲綠色協議。該協議包括歐盟的主要目標是成為第一個到 2050 年實現氣候中和大陸，到 2030 年實現減排 55%。
歐盟碳邊境稅將從 2023 年 1 月至 2025 年 12 月的過渡階段開始分階段實施。在此期間，預計企業將開始尋找最有效的方法，主要是在其整個運營中獨立測量碳足跡用於鋼鐵、鋁、水泥、化肥和電力行業等材料。邊境稅將於 2026 年 1 月開始生效，因為預計公司將開始購買其進口許可證（即碳稅），同時對石化、玻璃和紙張等其他產品徵稅。初始費率約為每公噸 74 美元，預計到 2030 年將逐漸增加到每公噸約 113 美元。預計中國、俄羅斯和印度的碳密集型生產商的價格上漲幅度約為 15-30% .然而，最大的影響可能來自汽車、建築和包裝行業，因為鋼鐵、水泥和鋁的成本將顯著上升。鋼鐵行業預計將是受影響最大的行業，因為它們目前每年產生高達 2 億公噸的二氧化碳，到 2030 年其成本將高達 125 億美元。
It’s been thirty years since Finland first implemented carbon pricing in 1990. Over the years, other European countries have followed through, charging different prices from less than USD 1 per metric ton of carbon emission like Poland and Ukraine to more than USD 100 like Sweden, which currently holds one of the most expensive carbon taxes in the world. These taxes also vary in standards of what kind of greenhouse gasses are being taxed on. For example, Spain only taxed on fluorinated gases, which account for only 3% of the country’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While Norway’s carbon tax covers more than 60% of their overall GHG emissions. Generally, carbon taxes can be applied to GHG like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, fluorinated gases, and nitrous oxide.
The European Union (EU) has since followed through by applying a carbon tax for the local manufacturers in 2005. It taxed around USD 68 per metric ton of carbon emission through the Emission Trading System which sets an annual limit on the emissions and creates a market for emissions permit trading. However, this regulation has been claimed to lead to carbon leakage, in which EU manufacturers would be losing their sales to overseas manufacturers with more lenient climate change regulations. To overcome this, as well as to promote a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to manufacturing and supply chain management, the EU has come up with the European Green Deal first introduced in December 2019. The deal includes the EU’s main objective to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 as well as reaching a 55% of emission reduction by 2030.
One of the steps taken by the EU is by applying a carbon border tax-applying carbon pricing to all goods, materials, and products imported to the EU instead of just taxing the local manufacturers. Even though the regulations were applied as an environmental approach, it was also seen as a ‘safeguard method’ for companies exiting the EU to move to countries with less climate change policy who are trying to sell their goods back to the region..
The regulations were also expected to further impact the whole global value and supply chain as the EU is one of the biggest market regions. It will also change companies’ competitive advantages and encourage manufacturers to be more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprints as companies who successfully measure their total emission in the entire supply chain and manage to lower their CO2 emissions will need to pay fewer taxes compared to those who failed to comply. It was also expected to ramp up manufacturers, buildings, and transportations industries to put more effort into their sustainability practices. At the same time, the carbon tax for local manufacturers applied in 2005 will be phased out as newer ones are established and give more pressure to EU manufacturers to speed up their carbon reduction processes.
The EU carbon border tax would start to be implemented in stages starting with the transitional stage between January 2023 to December 2025. During this period, companies are expected to start finding the most effective method for them to independently measure carbon footprints within their whole operations mainly for materials such as steel, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, and electricity industries. The border tax would be effective since January 2026 as companies are expected to start purchasing their import permits (a.k.a the carbon tax) while taxing for other products like petrochemical, glass, and paper would later be introduced. The initial rate would be around USD 74 per metric ton and is expected to gradually increase up to approximately USD 113 per metric ton by 2030. Around 15-30% of price surges for carbon-intensive producers in China, Russia, and India are anticipated. However, the highest impact would probably come from the automotive, construction, and packaging industries as the cost of steel, cement, and aluminum will rise significantly. The steel industry is expected to be the one impacted the most as they currently produced up to 200 million metric tons of CO2 annually, roughly costing them up to USD 12.5 billion by 2030.
Currently, there is no news or plans regarding how the EU would further allocate these immense revenues from the carbon tax. Some non-governmental organizations have been calling out the EU to allow this money to be used for climate protection actions and sustainability developments, not only within the EU but especially for the poorer, lower-income countries in the southern region as they are expected to be the ones who would be impacted the most.
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Patel, A., & Robinson, T. (2021). The EU Green Deal explained. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/en/knowledge/publications/c50c4cd9/the-eu-green-deal-explained
Prazeres, T. L., & Xie, Z. (2021, October 26). What is a carbon border tax and what does it mean for trade? Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/10/what-is-a-carbon-border-tax-what-does-it-mean-for-trade/
Schauenberg, T. (2021, December 07). CO2 tax at Europe's border: Revolution or protectionism?: DW: 07.12.2021. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.dw.com/en/carbon-border-tax-co2-eu-europe-global-south/a-59987093
About the Author
Xaveria Livienna is a freelance writer and researcher for the Taiwan Architecture and Building Center, currently pursuing an MBA degree in National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. Her main interests revolve around digital and content marketing, as well as CSR and sustainability.
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