Climate group with GOP roots a go-to for tariff push

E&E News
May 16, 2023
By Emma Dumain

Four senators — two Democratic, two Republican — plan to unveil proposals in coming weeks that would slap a tariff on carbon-intensive goods coming into the United States from abroad.

Each bill will look very different in the approaches they take to establishing trade policy designed to leverage U.S. competitiveness while also addressing the climate crisis, but they’ll all have something in common: significant buy-in from the Climate Leadership Council.

“It’s fair to say that any office that is working on a border carbon adjustment legislation or something related, we will have worked with them on it,” Greg Bertelsen, the council’s CEO, told E&E News in a recent interview.

Since its launch nearly six years ago, CLC has become an important resource on Capitol Hill for lawmakers looking to formulate legislation around the increasingly popular concept of a carbon boarder adjustment mechanism (CBAM) that could mirror what the European Union is moving towards and serve as a counterweight to foreign adversaries like China.

Armed with data, experts and insights, Bertelsen and his CLC colleagues have made themselves available to any member of Congress who wants to engage on this issue.

The result of such participation is that CLC is now empowering multiple senators — Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Chris Coons of Delaware and Republicans Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota — to work on completely separate CBAM tracks.