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Senate Republicans introduce a climate bill — aimed at China


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A trio of Republicans led by Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy is introducing legislation Thursday that would impose a fee on products imported from high greenhouse gas-emitting countries, a move aimed at protecting U.S. manufacturers from competition from China and other countries with lax environmental standards.

The bill, shared exclusively with POLITICO, represents the first GOP-led proposal to inject climate change policy into U.S. trade rules through so-called carbon adjustment fees. It’s a strategy that’s gained in popularity as industrialized nations that are imposing ever-stricter climate regulations at home seek to ensure they don’t drive domestic manufacturing to countries that have weaker rules over emissions of the pollution that’s warming the planet.


With the foreign pollution fee, we’re attempting to level the playing field to say, ‘OK, China, if you choose not to enforce environmental regulations, we’re going to levy a fee to compensate our country,’” Cassidy said in an interview, characterizing the proposal as a “Republican climate policy.”



U.S. companies in industries such as steelmaking have warned that any regulations that force them to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will raise their costs and put them at a disadvantage to imports from countries that lack similar rules, undermining U.S. efforts to revitalize the country’s manufacturing base.

Cassidy’s new bill goes further than a recent bipartisan proposal from Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), who introduced legislation that would order the Energy Department to deliver a study into the emissions intensity of producing various goods in different countries in order to demonstrate the relative “carbon advantage” that U.S. companies have over their foreign competitors.:snip:

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