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Polluting nations may face UK carbon border tax

Action is being considered against countries not meeting world commitments

Nations that fail to meet the UK’s standards on climate action may be forced to pay a ‘carbon border tax’ on goods coming into the country.

Environment Secretary George Eustice – who is attending the COP26 summit in Glasgow – has hinted at imposing higher costs on those that disregard new environmental standards.

However, he said introducing such measures would take time and ideally would be done multilaterally.

“We are not going to export pollution,” he said. “If you don’t want to do that, you do want to consider something like a carbon border tax.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson said countries must be ready to “make the bold compromises and ambitious commitments needed” at the final week of the climate summit.

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“There is one week left for COP26 to deliver for the world, and we must all pull together and drive for the line,” he said.

Nations had brought “ambition and action to help limit rising temperatures”, he said, referring to the pledges made during the first week of the summit.

“But we cannot underestimate the task at hand to keep 1.5C alive,” he added.

“Countries must come back to the table this week ready to make the bold compromises and ambitious commitments needed.”

Former US vice president Al Gore told the summit yesterday that the world is at a “long-awaited political tipping point” in the fight against climate change.

Mr Gore, who served two terms as vice-president under Bill Clinton added that “impressive” pledges for action have been made, but he warned the climate crisis is getting worse “faster than we are yet implementing solutions”. He said more political will is needed to tackle the problem.

Speaking as 100,000 protestors marched through Glasgow, and thousands more demonstrated in other cities around the world, he said: “Young people all around the world are telling us now is the time.

“This is a massive demand by the young people of the world and don’t tell them it’s impossible. It is possible,” he said.

“We have the tools and we have the ability to this.”

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Thirty years ago, Mr Gore and John Kerry – who is now the US special presidential envoy for climate – established the Globe organisation for legislators around the world to play their part in the fight against global warming.

Mr Gore spoke via a video address at the start of the Globe Cop26 Legislators Summit at the Scottish Parliament.

“I for one believe very strongly that we are right at the long-awaited political tipping point, the many pledges for action here at this conference of the parties are impressive,” he told those gathered at Holyrood.

With more countries and organisations making net-zero commitments, Mr Gore said it is crucial they are held to account on their pledges.

“If they are making a net-zero pledge they must now be held to it,” he said.

In the three decades since Globe was founded, the world had “also seen the emergence of extremely effective solutions for the climate crisis”, hailing the growth of renewable power and the increased popularity of electric vehicles.

He said: “We have the urgency, we have the tools we need to solve the climate crisis, we need the legislation. The only missing element is sufficient political will.

“But political will is itself a renewable resource, and legislators who are leading in every single country can renew that political will and then translate it into effective solutions.”

A number of agreements were announced in the first week of the summit, including pledges to:

  • end and reverse deforestation by 2030
  • cut emissions of the greenhouse gas methane by 2030. 
  • make a shift away from coal
  • enforce large UK firms to declare their green transition plans 


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