4 climate hurdles Biden faces at the G-7


There should be “no exemptions” or “wished” to the extent of the ban, said Han Chen, director of the international energy policy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Some [Japanese] departments interpret it as saying you can have factories with lower emissions. “

Whether Germany can commit to a phase-out of domestic coal sooner will also be revealing, said Steve Herz, senior lawyer and international climate adviser at the Sierra Club. In recent years, Germany has devoted a great deal of political capital to a painstaking effort by civil society groups, labor unions, power companies and local governments to negotiate an exit from coal by 2038. But the goals strengthened climate change from the European Commission and the April ruling by the German Constitutional Court that the country’s climate targets that insufficiently protect future generations will likely push that coal deadline forward, he said.

The trade winds

Tariffs on the carbon intensity of imported products will likely surface at the top even if they are not on the official agenda, especially after the draft text of the carbon border adjustment mechanism was leaked last week. of the EU.

Carbon tariffs are an emerging international front in the climate space given the measures taken by the EU to put its manufacturers on a par with foreign competitors who wish to ship goods there but have no rules emissions reduction in their home country – and don’t have to pay for increasingly expensive credits on the EU carbon market.

Biden also addressed the issue, calling for a border carbon tax during last year’s campaign. But his presidential special envoy for climate, John Kerry, warned the EU against this approach, which the United States would struggle to follow given the great chances of getting Congress to adopt a carbon price that align with the European system.

“This is a delicate point between the United States and Europe,” said Samantha Gross, director of the energy security and climate initiative at the Brookings Institution.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has started exploring what a carbon tariff would mean for its manufacturers, said Jane Nakano, senior researcher in the Energy Security and Climate Change program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Kerry also said the United States was examining the implications of a carbon tariff. A draft EU declaration for a summit next week with the United States that was secured by POLITICO noted a shared desire to “tackle the risk of carbon leakage”, when high-emitting industries collapse. relocate to areas with more permissive climate regulations.

While there has been a better understanding between the EU and the US of their different carbon pricing political realities since the early days of the Biden administration, these are still a few easy fixes, said Nakano.

“My reading is that the Biden team doesn’t necessarily rush to start this set of issues – the set of climate-related trade issues. It’s another heavy load, ”she said.


The G-7 also offers a chance for countries to align their climate messages before turning to the meeting of G-20 finance ministers next month, where China’s role in issues such as finance overseas coal, its continued domestic coal development and allegations of forced labor in the solar panel supply chain will feature prominently.

“China is not very responsive to pressure from (…) developed countries, but it does care what the developing world thinks,” Peter Betts, former senior climate negotiator for the UK and the United Kingdom. ‘UE, who is now an associate researcher at Chatham House, said in a media appeal. “And it’s quite difficult to ask the developing world to put pressure on China.”

The G-7 countries are already drawing the battle lines on coal financing, Herz said. The recent announcements by South Korea and Japan – if they live up to the spirit of the ministerial statement – would isolate China as the public lender of last resort for coal, jeopardizing the country’s reputation. China to claim climate leadership.

“A whole constellation of questions around a strong China will obviously be on the agenda,” Herz said. “But on the issue of climate, [the G-7 nations] will take the opportunity to push [China]. “

Jacopo Barigazzi contributed to this report.

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