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Cramer's carbon info push

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Jun 6, 2023
Senator Kevin Cramer

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Kevin Cramer is planning legislation that would help lay the groundwork for a carbon tariff.

Why it matters: Measuring carbon emissions in industrial supply chains is complicated. The idea is to gather enough information to eventually implement a carbon border adjustment mechanism.

Driving the news: Cramer and Sen. Chris Coons plan to introduce a bill soon that would “reconcile what it is, exactly, we need to know,” Cramer said.

  • It would focus on federal data on carbon emissions from various types of industrial products.
  • “It's not a new concept,” he said in the hallway outside the Senate chamber. “We just know that … we need solid data that everybody's operating with, especially if we want to reconcile this with other countries.”

Context: Cramer and other Senate Republicans are interested in a fee on carbon-intensive imports — without a matching domestic price.

  • That makes the policy design more complicated because it requires precise measurements of the emissions from specific goods or sectors, both in the U.S. and in other countries.
  • This bill is an attempt to figure that stuff out.

Our thought bubble: Sen. Bill Cassidy is planning a CBAM bill that will be the GOP marker. But Cramer’s legislation is a low-stakes effort that could help get more Republicans interested in the concept.

  • Cramer said he hopes to get it attached to an appropriations bill or other must-pass legislation.

Yes, but: The Senate’s CBAM gang remains small, and there’s relatively little interest among House Republicans.

  • Still more political coalitions will need to be built before a real carbon tariff bill has any chance of making it through Congress.
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