Canada and the U.S. are working on joint environment plans that could include singling out countries with weaker climate laws, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

The Canadian leader said in an interview with Bloomberg News that his country’s plans to deepen climate cooperation with the U.S. will include complementary policies that take “into account the emissions profiles of industrial competitors around the world.”

Some countries “are producing without having the same kinds of leadership on climate change that the U.S. is bringing into place and that we already have,” Trudeau said in the telephone interview Wednesday, one day after a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and key officials. “That level of transparency and accountability is something that we are concretely looking at moving forward on.”

Trudeau’s comment illustrates just how far the idea of penalizing high-emitting countries -- perhaps with carbon taxes on their exports -- has advanced in recent months among major economies ramping up efforts to curb pollution. Such levies could alleviate some of the competitiveness concerns, and political backlash, associated with new climate regulations and laws.

Trudeau didn’t mention specifically the idea of a carbon border levy in the interview, other than to say more details will be unveiled in the coming months, ahead of an April climate summit the White House is planning.

His trade chief, Mary Ng, said earlier this month the Canadian government is “working on” the idea, as part of broader efforts to find areas where economic goals and climate targets align. A Canadian government official said a number of measures are being looked at around the world, with carbon adjustments being just one tool.

Taxing goods from countries with weaker climate laws has won the support of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is expected to use his country’s Group of Seven presidency this year to win support for so-called carbon border adjustments. The European Parliament’s environment committee backed a resolution earlier this month urging the European Commission to put a price on emissions from imported products by 2023.

‘Competitive Disadvantage’
Biden has promised aggressive action to combat climate change and on the campaign trail signaled his support for carbon fees or quotas that would raise the price of imported goods from countries with lax climate controls.

“As the U.S. takes steps to make domestic polluters bear the full cost of their carbon pollution, the Biden administration will impose carbon adjustment fees or quotas on carbon-intensive goods from countries that are failing to meet their climate and environmental obligations,” Biden’s campaign pledged in a clean energy blueprint last year. “This will ensure that American workers and their employers are not at a competitive disadvantage and simultaneously encourage other nations to raise their climate ambitions.”

First « 1 2 » Next