The climate crisis is the most important long-term challenge facing policymakers around the world. Addressing it will require deep economic transformations within and across national borders, and a mix of ambition and pragmatism about what nations’ individual political and legal constraints will permit.
In this working paper, Roosevelt Director of Governance Studies Todd N. Tucker and Vanderbilt Law School’s Timothy Meyer argue that the US, the EU, and like-minded countries should impose a common external tariff on carbon-intensive steel imports, while—as the Paris Agreement contemplates—allowing each other flexibility to pursue a range of decarbonization strategies domestically. By converting a climate-blocking industry into a climate-supporting industry, the proposal alters climate politics and makes future climate-supporting action more likely. Over time, this sectoral strategy can and should be expanded to other industries.