Towards a transatlantic climate alliance? The challenges and opportunities of border carbon adjustment

In the lead-up to the G7, this webinar discussed the design, application and potential consequences of border carbon adjustments.

Research event, Panel
7 June 2021 — 12:30PM TO 1:30PM

Watch the webinar:

You can view the recording of this event via the University of Sussex Business School Youtube Channel.


With record carbon prices causing EU industry outcry, the EU Parliament recently voted to extend EU pricing to imported products through a border carbon adjustment (BCA). The UK, Canada and US are understood to be among other countries considering some form of BCA or related border measures.

With respect to design, BCAs present a policy trilemma between the goals of environmental ambition, technical feasibility and fairness. This trilemma means that there is likely to be no perfect solution for BCA design, but rather trade-offs between goals.

In the lead-up to the G7, this webinar focused on:

  • What is driving the interest in border carbon adjustments?
  • How they be designed and applied?
  • What are the potential consequences of border carbon adjustments for climate and for trade goals?
  • What are their implications for trading partners, including developing countries?
  • What kinds of transition mechanisms, exemptions or complementary cooperation are needed?
  • How much are border carbon adjustments likely to lever or incentivize climate action and in which sectors and economies?
  • How could the focus on border carbon adjustments influence international trade cooperation more broadly, including on environmental topics and at the WTO?  

This webinar was organized by the Global Economy and Finance programme in partnership with the University of Sussex and the UK Trade Policy Observatory.


Chair: Creon Butler, Research Director, Trade, Investment and New Governance Models; Director, Global Economy and Finance Programme, Chatham House

Presentation: Emily Lydgate, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Sussex; Deputy Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory

Discussants: Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Associate Fellow, Chatham House; Director, Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Michael Gasiorek, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex; Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory

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