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Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) 2023/956 establishing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?

The regulation:

  • establishes a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to prevent the risk of carbon leakage* for certain goods containing embedded greenhouse gas emissions imported into the European Union (EU);
  • complements the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS, see summary) by applying similar rules to imports covered by the regulation;
  • replaces elements of the existing system to reflect the extent to which EU ETS allowances are allocated for free.

KEY POINTS

The regulation:

  • applies, during its initial transitional phase, to the following carbon-intensive imports:
    • cement, electricity, fertilisers, iron and steel, aluminium and chemicals (hydrogen) (Annex I contains further details);
  • does not apply to imports:
    • with little value or for military use,
    • from countries and territories to which the EU ETS applies, or which have concluded an agreement with the EU fully linking the EU ETS with the emission trading system of that country or territory – currently these are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and the territories of Büsingen, Ceuta, Heligoland, Livigno and Melilla (Annex III),
    • of electricity from non-EU countries whose domestic electricity market is integrated with the EU’s.

CBAM declarants

  • Only an authorised CBAM declarant – either an importer or indirect customs representative who has successfully applied to their national authority for that status – may import goods covered by the regulation in the definitive period starting from 2026.
  • CBAM applicants must provide basic information such as contact details, main economic activity and proof of compliance with customs and taxation rules during the previous 5 years.
  • EU Member State national authorities keep a register of authorised CBAM declarants.
  • CBAM declarants, starting in 2027, submit an annual declaration by 31 May on the previous year’s activities containing the following information:
    • quantity of each type of import;
    • total embedded emissions* in the goods;
    • number of CBAM certificates surrendered;
    • copies of various verification reports.

Emissions

  • Annex IV sets out how to calculate a good’s embedded emissions.
  • Annex II lists the goods for which only direct emissions are taken into account: iron and steel, aluminium, chemicals (hydrogen).

CBAM declarants:

  • keep detailed records for 4 years of the information used to calculate embedded emissions (Annex V lists the requirements);
  • ensure that the total embedded emissions submitted in their declaration are approved by an accredited verifier;
  • may claim a reduction in the number of CBAM certificates they provide for embedded emissions to take account of the carbon price* paid in the country of origin.

The European Commission, upon request by the operator of an installation in a non-EU country, records the necessary information on that operator and its installations in the CBAM registry.

National authorities

  • Member States designate national authorities to implement the regulation. These exchange essential or relevant information among themselves.
  • Official verifiers must either meet the requirements of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2067 (see summary) or be approved by a national accreditation body.
  • The Commission:
    • helps the national authorities and coordinates their work;
    • establishes a standardised electronic CBAM registry database of authorised declarants, which contains information on their CBAM certificates and other relevant details;
    • carries out risk-based controls on the information and transactions recorded in the registry;
    • reviews CBAM declarations to check the data provided and sends its findings to the relevant national authority, which may conduct its own review and determine, based on the Commission’s preliminary calculation, whether more CBAM certificates must be handed over;
    • monitors trade patterns to detect any attempts to avoid compliance with the regulation by, for instance, slightly modifying goods with the purpose of making them fall outside the scope of the regulation;
    • facilitates the exchange of information on fraudulent behaviour and the penalties imposed.
  • National customs authorities ensure that only an authorised CBAM declarant may import goods and forward relevant information to the Commission.

CBAM certificates

Member States sell CBAM certificates on a common central platform, which the Commission establishes and manages, to authorised CBAM declarants in their country.

Information in the central platform on the sale, repurchase and cancellation of CBAM certificates is transferred to the CBAM registry at the end of each working day.

The Commission:

  • ensures each certificate is given a unique identification number;
  • calculates the weekly price of CBAM certificates as the average of the closing prices of EU ETS allowances on their auction platform;
  • cancels annually on 1 July, without any compensation, any excess certificates that a CBAM declarant holds which were purchased during the year before the previous calendar year.

Authorised CBAM declarants:

  • surrender annually by 31 May, starting in 2027, the number of certificates corresponding to the embedded emissions they declared the previous year;
  • are liable for a penalty if they do not surrender the requisite number of certificates;
  • ensure that the number of certificates they hold in the CBAM register at the end of each quarter corresponds to at least 80% of the embedded emissions in goods they have imported since the start of the calendar year;
  • may request, by 30 June of each calendar year, to sell back to the Commission, via Member States, up to a third of the certificates they purchased the previous year, at their original price.

The Commission:

  • adopts implementing and delegated acts;
  • presents the following reports to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union:
    • at least 1 year before the end of the transitional period (31 December 2025), on products further down the value chain of the goods in Annex I which could be included in the regulation,
    • before the end of the transitional period, on the possible extension of the regulation’s scope to other goods that risk carbon leakage, specifically organic chemicals and polymers, to other input materials (precursors), to indirect embedded emissions to the goods in Annex II, and to embedded emissions in the transport of the goods,
    • before 1 January 2028, and every 2 years thereafter, on the application of the regulation and functioning of the CBAM;
  • provides:
    • an implementing regulation detailing the reporting requirements during the transitional period and the emission calculation methodology for CBAM goods,
    • guidance for EU importers and non-EU installations on the practical implementation of the new rules,
    • online training materials, webinars, tutorials and sector-specific fact sheets to support businesses.

Transitional period

  • This runs from 1 October 2023 to 31 December 2025.
  • Importers, or indirect customs representatives, submit a CBAM report to the Commission from 31 January 2024, on a quarterly basis, without having to buy or surrender any certificates.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It applies from 1 October 2023, but some articles apply from 31 December 2024 and some others from 1 January 2026.

BACKGROUND

  • CBAM is the EU’s landmark measure to tackle carbon leakage and a central pillar of its fit for 55 agenda. It equalises the price of carbon between domestic products and imports and aims to encourage cleaner industrial production in non-EU countries.
  • The transitional phase is being used as a learning period for all stakeholders (importers, producers and authorities). The Commission will study the data on embedded emissions to refine the methodology for the definitive period starting in 2026.
  • For further information, see:

KEY TERMS

Carbon leakage. When companies transfer production to countries with laxer greenhouse gas emissions rules than their own.
Embedded emissions. Direct emissions released during the production of goods and indirect emissions from the electricity consumed during the process.
Carbon price. Amount paid in a non-EU country, as a tax, levy or fee, under a carbon emissions reduction scheme.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Regulation (EU) 2023/956 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 May 2023 establishing a carbon border adjustment mechanism (OJ L 130, 16.5.2023, pp. 52–104).

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/1773 of 17 August 2023 laying down the rules for the application of Regulation (EU) 2023/956 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards reporting obligations for the purposes of the carbon border adjustment mechanism during the transitional period (OJ L 228, 15.9.2023, pp. 94–195).

Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’) (OJ L 243, 9.7.2021, pp. 1–17).

Commission Delegated Decision (EU) 2019/708 of 15 February 2019 supplementing Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the determination of sectors and subsectors deemed at risk of carbon leakage for the period 2021 to 2030 (OJ L 120, 8.5.2019, pp. 20–26).

Regulation (EU) 2018/841 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework, and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 and Decision No 529/2013/EU (OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, pp. 1–25).

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2018/841 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Regulation (EU) 2018/842 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 contributing to climate action to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 (OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, pp. 26–42).

See consolidated version.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2067 of 19 December 2018 on the verification of data and on the accreditation of verifiers pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 334, 31.12.2018, pp. 94–134).

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code (recast) (OJ L 269, 10.10.2013, pp. 1–101).

See consolidated version.

Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC (OJ L 275, 25.10.2003, pp. 32–46).

See consolidated version.

last update 06.02.2024

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