Just weeks ago there was no international agreement on limiting emissions from the aviation sector.

The Kyoto Protocol states that developed countries should pursue reductions of emissions from the international aviation and maritime sectors through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) respectively, but until now there have been no binding targets for these sectors.

Emissions from flights within, to and from the EU were included in the EU ETS in Phase 3. After substantial international discussions, the EU decided to “stop the clock” on applying the provision to international flights coming to and leaving the EU in order to give ICAO time to develop a global scheme to tackle GHG emissions from the aviation sector.

At ICAO’s 2013 General Assembly, countries set a “global aspirational goal” of ensuring “carbon neutral growth” for the aviation sector after 2020. In order to achieve this goal, work has progressed within ICAO on a global market-based mechanism.

This October, an international agreement for the aviation sector was agreed in Montreal, Canada. The agreement seeks to ensure that the aviation sector becomes carbon neutral after 2020 and halves net emissions by 2050 compared to 2005. Aviation accounts for two percent of global GHG emissions, but this is expected to double by 2030 without policy intervention.

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Countries Agree International Aviation Emissions Pact
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Date: 24 November 2016

Time: 15:00-17:30

Date period: 
Monday, 24 October 2016 - 5:42pm

Climate change poses tremendous risks to the viability of life on Earth as we know it as well as to the prospects for a prosperous future.

In this regard, international trade and investment frameworks that encourage and support the transition to a low-carbon economy are key. Indeed, open international markets are crucial for fostering access to mitigation and adaptation technologies, making them available at a competitive cost and large scale, as well as for enhancing access to products with relatively lower levels of embedded carbon.

At the same time, under the Paris Agreement’s decentralised nature, each country sets its own targets and chooses the measures to achieve them. Positive and negative spillover effects between interconnected economies are likely to occur. Competitiveness and carbon leakage concerns are expected to intensify, which may constrain the ambition of countries’ climate policies and prompt the introduction of controversial trade-related measures.

On the other hand, cooperation on climate measures can lead to a degree of alignment between national measures and help to reduce trade-related concerns. The global trade system can provide support for such cooperation.

In the context of the current uncertainty in the area of multilateral governance, ensuring equitable and inclusive growth worldwide requires guidance from the highest level and coordination on macro-economic policies. Moving in this direction will require firm leadership and participation of key players, and I strongly believe that the G20 has the potential to exercise leadership on this vital matter.

Against this background, ICTSD will host a working dinner on the G20’s competitive advantage on the linkages between global trade, climate change and energy policy. After brief introductions by ICTSD’s Senior Fellow Thomas L. Brewer, we will open up for an interactive and informal discussion.

To request an invitation to the dinner, please contact Ingrid Jegou at ijegou@ictsd.ch

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Berlin, Germany
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Global Rules for Mutually Supportive and Reinforcing Trade and Climate Regimes
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Thursday, 1 December 2016 - 4:52pm

COP 22 had the potential to significantly push the processes surrounding the Paris Agreement to a higher gear and create more clarity on what can be expected on the international level in the coming years.

During this session, participants will review the main outcomes of the Marrakech COP, and especially how they relate to ongoing EU policy processes and the impact of the US election on international cooperation.

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Brussels, Belgium
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Date: 24 November 2016

Time: 16:00-18:00

Date period: 
Thursday, 24 November 2016 - 9:21am

Climate change poses tremendous risks for growth and development and therefore requires ambitious and immediate action. 

The Paris Agreement represents an unprecedented commitment to tackle the climate challenge: Its signatories aim to peak emissions as soon as possible and to decarbonise the global economy in the second half of the century.

However, its success will require supportive policies across many areas. Trade frameworks that support the transition to a low-carbon economy will be key. Policies to achieve this range from trade liberalisation for climate-friendly goods and services to phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies or providing space for climate-friendly subsidies.

At the same time, the decentralised nature of the new climate agreement built on NDCs will likely generate increasing spillover effects on trade and in some cases test the limits of trade rules, which in turn may undermine climate goals. Recent political developments further add uncertainty about the levels of mitigation action that can be expected.

This dialogue will explore key interactions between trade and the implementation of the Paris Agreement in the post-Marrakesh context to drive more coherent policy-making where the potential for trade to positively contribute to the climate action effort is realised, while ensuring that climate measures do not unnecessarily distort trade but rather promote an open economic system that contributes to sustainable, equitable and inclusive development.

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Brussels, Belgium
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Global Rules for Mutually Supportive and Reinforcing Trade and Climate RegimesCarbon Market Clubs under the Paris Climate Regime: Climate and Trade Policy Considerations
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Date: 6 December 2016

Time: 14:00-16:00

Date period: 
Tuesday, 6 December 2016 - 11:45am

Fossil fuel subsidies encourage wasteful consumption aggravate local pollution, disadvantage clean energy technologies, and drain scarce public resources that could be better directed to other sustainable development goals. At over USD 500 billion annually, fossil fuel subsidies are globally significant.

Fossil fuel subsidies are a poor social welfare policy. They are regressive, costly and inefficient for reducing poverty.

In addition to the detrimental impact on climate change and the economy, they have a negative impact on international trade and can distort international trade flows.

Removing fossil fuel subsidies leads to emissions reductions and removes distortions which affect international trade. It also frees up resources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The trade regime is uniquely placed to consider how to address fossil fuel subsidies. International trade law is the only forum in which global rules are already in place to effectively discipline subsidies. Given this and the implications of fossil fuel subsidies on international trade and investment flows, there is a case for the WTO to more closely examine these harmful measures.

Panellists:

-Arancha González, ITC

-Mark Halle, IISD

-Ingrid Jegou, ICTSD

-Ronald Steenblik, OECD

-David Shark, WTO

-Guillermo Valles, UNCTAD

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Geneva, Switzerland
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Monday, 21 November 2016 - 4:03pm