Bipartisan bill would lay groundwork for U.S. carbon tariffs

E&E News
June 8, 2023
By Emma Dumain

Senators from both parties have signed on to legislation that would calculate the emissions intensity of industrial materials produced in the United States.

It’s a necessary step, advocates say, toward a carbon border adjustment mechanism, or CBAM, that would slap tariffs on carbon-intensive imports.

In the meantime, the “PROVE IT Act” can fill a necessary void while fulfilling a necessary function, said Greg Bertelsen, CEO of the Climate Leadership Council, which is working with congressional offices on CBAM proposals.

For one thing, he said, mandating a study of U.S. products’ carbon intensity that would take two years from the date of enactment of the bill could actually take care of an important part of the equation while members of Congress reconcile their disagreements on the larger issues.

For another, he continued, the “PROVE IT Act” responds not only to a practical need but also a desire from lawmakers.

“I’ve met with more than one Republican office who is interested in this space but watching with some concern as the E.U. develops their CBAM and recognizing that U.S. exporters are going to be subject to a program — and an adjustment — determined by the E.U. regulators” Bertelsen explained.

“The Republican members I’ve met with, their view is the U.S. should have its own opinion about what the carbon intensity of our products are.”