On June 22, the European Parliament (EP) adopted the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) proposal with 450 votes in favor, 115 votes against, and 55 abstentions, forming the EP’s unified position on the establishment of the CBAM regulation. The vote, which was supposed to take place on June 8, was called off due to divisions within the EP over how to balance climate ambitions with protecting the interests of homegrown industries. This article will sort out the procedure of the CBAM proposal being passed by the EP and analyze the reasons for the divisions within the Parliament, as well as the introduction of the EP's position on the CBAM amendments.
CBAM proposal has a bumpy rode to the European Parliament
On June 8, the European Parliament voted 340 against, 265 in favor, and 34 abstentions, and rejected a revised proposal for reform of the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS) proposed by the center-right European People's Party (EPP) in conjunction with the Renewal Europe Party (RE), and sent the proposal back to the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) for further discussion . The rejection of the EU ETS reform proposal precipitated a chain reaction in which the proposal for CBAM was interrelated with the withdrawal of free carbon allowances under the EU ETS reform proposal, resulting in the cancellation of the vote on the CBAM proposal.
The EU ETS reform proposal was rejected, revealing that there are Hugh differences within the EU on core climate policies, mainly in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war, the position on tackling climate change goals and protecting local industrial development. The Green Party and Socialist MPs in the European Parliament rejected the EU ETS reform proposal as insufficiently ambitious in terms of emission reductions, while right-wing parties argued that the proposal set too aggressive emission reduction targets in the context of inflationary pressures and rising energy prices . The EP has three main options for the EU ETS reform proposal: the ENVI solution to reach a unified position in May 2022, the one that was rejected on June 8, and the compromise solution agreed by all parties on June 15  (Table 1) .
Table 1: Comparison of the three main EU ETS reform proposals in the European Parliament
6.8 Rejected solutions
6.15 Adopted solution
Total emission reduction target (2030)
Total allowance reduction
200-250 million tons reduction in 2024
70 million tons reduction in 2024 and 50 million tons reduction in 2026
The revised solution will reduce 70 million tons when it takes effect and another 50 million tons in 2026
Linear Reduction Factor
4.8% annual reduction
4.4% reduction in 2024
4.5% reduction in 2025
2024-2025: 4.4% reduction per year
2026-2028: 4.5% reduction per year
Starting in 2029: 4.6% reduction per year
Free allowance cancellation schedule
2025 to 2030
2028 to 2034
2027 to 2032
Export Tax Refund
EU exports still receive free allowances
Comparing the three solutions, the ENVI proposal is the most radical and ambitious in terms of emissions reductions. Compared to the proposal rejected on June 8, the compromise adopted on June 15 may have won the support of left-leaning parties such as the Greens in the European Parliament by eliminating free allowances a year earlier and increasing the linear reduction factor in 2029, while the addition of export rebates may be the reason for inning the support of the right-wing party.
Compared to the European Commission's proposal in July 2021 proposal (to begin phasing out free carbon allowances in 2026), the compromise reached on June 15 would delay the start of phasing out free carbon allowances by one year, primarily because of the economic burden on European industry is increasing due to inflation and rising energy prices resulting from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Although energy efficiency and renewable energy are trends of the future, their growth rate is insufficient to replace Russian natural gas. Delaying the beginning of the elimination of free carbon allowances by one year is also a means to provide the European industry breathing space to shift investments and innovate to consider additional carbon reduction and green transformation measures .
Next step: CBAM will be officially implemented in 2027
After the EU ETS reform proposal was passed on June 22, the European Parliament subsequently passed a revised proposal for CBAM (Table 2). In March this year, the EU Council has approved the General Approach of CBAM in March, and the EU Council's view is essentially consistent with that of the European Commission. Next, the European Parliament is preparing to begin negotiations with EU member states to finish the final legislative procedure of the CBAM-related regulations by the end of 2022.
Table 2. Main contents of the CBAM proposal finally adopted by the European Parliament 
European Parliament Position
Transitional period from 2023 to 2026, with formal implementation starting in 2027
Steel, aluminum, cement, electricity, fertilizers, organic chemicals, hydrogen, ammonia, plastics; all industries covered by EU ETS to be included by 2030
Direct and indirect emissions
EU establishes a unified authority
Schedule for Cancellation of EU ETS Free Carbon Allowance
Still receive 100% free carbon allowances during the transition period from 2023 to 2026; free carbon allowances are phased out between 2027 and 2032, and completely phased out by the end of 2032
Use of CBAM revenue
For supporting low-carbon transition in LDCs
Export adjustment mechanism
EU-produced exports still receive free carbon allowances
There Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to soaring energy costs in European countries and concerns about rising economic inflation have created tensions between the two and the EU's commitment to combating climate change. Although CBAM is an unproven and effective emission reduction measure, the outside world has doubts about protecting its own trade, but as the EU’s CBAM legislative process draws to a close, countries need to be prepared to deal with the effects of EU CBAM on their export trade.
 Fit for 55: Environment Committee to work on way forward on carbon-pricing laws, European Parliament, Link: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/de/press-room/20220603IPR32130/fit-for-55-environment-committee-to-work-on-way-forward-on-carbon-pricing-laws
 Risk of delay to carbon market reforms after surprise EU vote, Reuters, Link: https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/eu-lawmakers-reject-carbon-market-reforms-divisive-climate-vote-2022-06-08/
 Parliament groups strike compromise on EU carbon market reform, EurActiv, Link: https://www.euractiv.com/section/emissions-trading-scheme/news/parliament-groups-strike-compromise-on-eu-carbon-market-reform/
 More breathing space for industry and citizens, Link: https://www.peter-liese.de/en/32-english/press-releases-en/3802-more-breathing-space-for-industry-and-citizens
 Linear Reduction Factor (LRF), the number of allowances issued in the EU carbon market each year decreases by a linear reduction factor.
 Same as footnote 4
 CBAM: Parliament pushes for higher ambition in new carbon leakage instrument, European Parliament, Link: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220603IPR32157/cbam-parliament-pushes-for-higher-ambition-in-new-carbon-leakage-instrument