Linking trade, climate change and energy

Nov 2006

Reversing global warming requires citizen action and corporate responsibility, public and private investment and the implementation of effective regulatory regimes. While in the past, the economy vs. environment debate has hampered progress on the environment, many policy-makers now realise that a concerted effort to ensure that economic activity is sustainable is the most cost-effective strategy. A consensus is emerging that technology innovation and transfer can play a major role in protecting the environment while fostering economic development, but achieving the right balance between private and public action is daunting.
Trade liberalisation and the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are currently managed under separate and complex legal regimes. The integration of these regimes is essential to ensure that domestic and international measures to address climate change and the international trade system are mutually supportive.
Infusing climate-friendly measures – including incentives such as climate standards, strategically targeted subsidies and liberalisation in environmental goods and services – within the various trade regimes could make a major contribution toward a sustainable energy transition, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
This special collection of issue briefs begins with an introduction that summarises International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)’s analysis of the key links between three broad areas that are too frequently addressed in isolation from each other: trade, climate change and energy. The second section explains more specifically some of the most important issues facing policy-makers concerned with international policy on energy and trade, including the specific circumstances in Asia and especially China. The final section focuses on bioenergy, looking both at the global picture and at experiences in Africa, Asia and Brazil.
The collection features a contribution by Ted Turner, a leader in the growing movement in support of clean energy and the chairman of the United Nations Foundation. Focusing on the potential of biofuels to simultaneously provide economic opportunity and reverse global warming, such new voices set the stage for the issues explored here.
This collection builds upon work that ICTSD has initiated on the links between trade, climate change and energy.

By: ICTSD Project on Trade and Sustainable Energy

download this document:   1277 kb