Proposals by the European Union to establish a “carbon border tax” will stymie the global community’s willingness to take joint action against climate change, China said on Wednesday.
The EU’s new climate commissioner Frans Timmermans said in October that research would begin on the new tax, which is aimed at protecting European firms from unfair competition by raising the cost of products from countries that fail to take adequate action against climate change.
At a briefing on Wednesday, Zhao Yingmin, China’s vice environment minister warned Europe’s proposals, together with the decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement, would seriously harm international efforts to tackle global warming.
“We need to send a strong political signal to uphold multilateralism,” he said. “We need to prevent unilateralism and protectionism from hurting global growth expectations and the will of countries to combat climate change together.”
Any border tax would probably increase the price of Chinese goods in the European market, and Beijing believes it would violate a core principle of the Paris agreement on climate change, which says richer countries should bear the greater responsibility for cutting emissions.