We’ve Made Big Steps in Fighting Climate Change. Here’s What’s Next

November 4, 2022
By Sens. Brian Schatz, Sheldon Whitehouse, & Martin Heinrich

This summer, a political miracle occurred. Against powerful opposition and long odds, despite being written off by pundits, and by the narrowest of margins, we passed the biggest American climate action ever. The Inflation Reduction Act is predicted to push us from 25 percent to 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, and put the United States within striking distance of our emissions reduction targets.

While this is the most we’ve ever done, it’s still not enough to meet this planetary emergency.

To make American companies more competitive in the global marketplace, we should institute a carbon border adjustment that places a fee on imports from countries that do little to cut carbon pollution in their industries. On average, the U.S. economy is much less carbon intensive than that of its trading partners, so a border adjustment fee would boost clean American manufacturing while putting intense economic pressure on foreign polluters. The European Union is already moving to impose a carbon border adjustment on its imports; now that the U.S. is taking significant steps to boost clean manufacturing, we should too, and encourage our allies to do the same.