African countries deem EU carbon border levy ‘protectionist’

From EURACTIV

By Clara Bauer-Babef | EURACTIV France | translated by Daniel Eck

 Mar 25, 2021 (updated:  Mar 26, 2021)

Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, the director general for climate action Raffaele Mauro Petricione acknowledged that “what is expected of an African country in terms of climate policy is not the same as that of a European country.”

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Some African countries consider the EU’s planned carbon border levy to be “protectionist”. That was the upshot of a conference organised by the French government on Tuesday (23 March), which examined the challenges posed by the EU’s upcoming mechanism. EURACTIV France reports.

According to Youba Sokona, vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a carbon border adjustment mechanism would harm “countries with less financial and human capacity,” particularly those with low CO2 emissions.

Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, the director general for climate action, Mauro Petricione, acknowledged that “what is expected of an African country in terms of climate policy is not the same as that of a European country.”

“This will give rise to heated debates,” he admitted.

Timothy Gore of the Institute for European Environmental Policy shared Sokona’s concerns, noting that “it will all depend on the scope of the measures” and the products that will be included.

“These countries are very dependent on aluminium exports, they will be very exposed. The ambiguity of the European discourse is to define a small category of high-intensity products. But we don’t know who will be affected,” he added.

The future carbon border adjustment mechanism is part of the “new own resources” for the EU budget and must be used to “combat global warming” across the world, Green MEP Yannick Jadot said on Wednesday (3 March). EURACTIV France reports.

Non-European producers will not face discrimination

While Sokona agreed on “the way forward to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and to move towards non-carbon economies, as described in the latest IPCC report”, he recalled that 80% of Africa’s electricity “comes from fossil fuels”.

Petricione labelled this figure as “catastrophic,” warning that “energy in Africa is one of the biggest problems we will face in the future”.

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March 28, 2021 at 08:03AM

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