IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Border Carbon Adjustments and the Potential for Protectionism

Listed author(s):
  • Peter Holmes


    (Department of Economics, University of Sussex)

  • Tom Reilly
  • Jim Rollo


    (Politics and Contemporary European Studies, University of Sussex)

Balancing legitimate fears that carbon leakage could undermine the impact of any global climate change agreement are countervailing fears that leakage will be the excuse for protectionism in the guise of “Border Carbon Adjustments”. This would have dangers for the world trading system, risking disputes due to ambiguities in the details of WTO rules over what types of border measures are potentially and actually admissible. Even with good quality data, there is considerable potential for judgemental discretion, and hence opportunistic manipulation, in estimating the carbon charges to levy on an imported product. This is even with agreement on whether to use importer or exporter coefficients. A clear distinction needs to be made between environmental and competitiveness motives for border adjustments. The key argument is that the traditional symmetry between origin based taxes (production) and other charges and those based on the destination (consumption) principle breaks down in the case of carbon charges. This paper explores the potential for regional agreements to ensure origin as the basis for carbon levies in the aftermath of the Copenhagen Accord, while recognising the challenges that this poses for the mutual recognition of emissions regimes in particular.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Sussex in its series Working Paper Series with number 0610.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2010
Handle: RePEc:sus:susewp:0610
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Jubilee Building G08, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SL

Phone: +44 (0) 1273 678889
Fax: +44 (0)1273 873715
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Aaditya Mattoo & Arvind Subramanian & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe & Jianwu He, 2009. "Reconciling Climate Change and Trade Policy," Working Papers 189, Center for Global Development.
  2. Onno Kuik & Reyer Gerlagh, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Carbon Leakage," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 97-120.
  3. European Commission, 2010. "Innovative Financing at a Global Level," Taxation Papers 23, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sus:susewp:0610. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Russell Eke)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.