Green Steel Deal: Climate Change Mitigation and International Trade Come Together in Decarbonization Policy Proposal | Vanderbilt News

photo by Christophe dion at Unsplash

In one paper published by the Roosevelt Institute, Vanderbilt faculty proposed that at the start of the 2021 G7 summit, the Biden administration have a chance to make a fresh start in the fight against climate change.

Vanderbilt Law School Director of International Legal Studies Timothy Meyer and Roosevelt Institute Director of Governance Studies Todd tucker recommended a two-pronged policy on climate change and international trade which they call the Green Steel Deal. Its aim is to work within the legal and political constraints countries face at home, rather than devising international trade restrictions.

The deal, the authors said, calls on like-minded countries to create an international steel-focused “climate club” where the condition of membership is to convert, as soon as possible, all domestic steel production. to green methods. The “club” would agree to apply a common carbon tariff on steel imports from non-member countries, and within 10 years, all members would replace the tariff with an internal ban on the sale of dirty steel. Member countries would also commit to reinvesting tariff revenues in green steel projects and development.

“The Green Steel Deal takes decarbonization out of a market-centric approach that has failed to significantly reduce emissions and emphasizes the central role of the state in delivering global public goods.” , wrote Tucker and Meyer.

Steel is the best place to start, they say, because the industry is likely to support something like a Green Steel Deal. For example, the American Iron and Steel Institute has stated that a “strong and effective” carbon border measure is essential to “optimize the role of the steel industry in reducing greenhouse gases around the world.”

“The Green Steel Deal takes decarbonization out of a market-centric approach that has failed to significantly reduce emissions and emphasizes the central role of the state in delivering global public goods. “- Tim Meyer, professor of law

By starting with an industrial sector like steel that is ready to adopt border carbon measures, governments can demonstrate feasibility and proof of concept early while investing in research and development to innovate and reduce cost. green technologies.

“The steel industry is the ideal sector to start transatlantic trade and climate cooperation,” wrote Tucker and Meyer. “It is one of the biggest carbon emitters in the manufacturing sector; it is on track to consume 50% of available carbon budgets by 2050, is heavily commercialized and is already subject to extensive political controls that the US and EU are negotiating. “

The climate crisis is one of the most important long-term challenges facing policymakers around the world. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently published data showing that the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has reached the highest levels in human history and that carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas causing global warming climate.

“The integration of climate change mitigation strategies into trade policy is important because more than a quarter of carbon emissions (27%) are integrated into trade flows,” according to the authors. “Although US production and exports are relatively carbon-efficient, the US still consumes carbon-intensive products imported from countries like China. This only shifts the location where pollution occurs, rather than reducing it overall. “

The Green Steel Deal becomes an opportunity for countries to examine what works locally in climate change mitigation, then translate those lessons into trade rules through negotiated outcomes. By designing a way for the manufacturing industry to support climate initiatives that serve the bottom line, the Green Steel Deal changes climate policy and makes future climate support actions more likely.

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