Tackling climate change in a sufficient and timely manner requires a concerted effort and significant changes across different policy areas. In today’s globalised economy, the roles of trade and investment need to be considered in this context.
Wide-ranging climate-related policies will inevitably have major effects on all levels of the international economy, including on energy supply and use, production and consumption patterns, international competitiveness, and transport. Many of these will have implications for trade, which may result in tensions as already evidenced by an increasing number of climate-related trade disputes.
At the same time, trade offers important solutions to climate change. Not only can trade help achieve a more efficient resource use, contribute to scaling up climate-friendly technologies, and support a shift to a cleaner energy mix, but trade policy frameworks also offer opportunities for collaboration.
For example, recent regional trade agreements explicitly refer to climate change and, in some cases, include specific climate provisions. Trade instruments can also support the development of bottom-up responses to climate change, including for example climate clubs.
In light of the many complex interlinkages between trade and climate change, there is scope for deepening the conceptual debate and taking action to ensure that the global trade system is supportive of and being effectively used for climate action.
It is against this background that the International Centre of Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the World Economic Forum have established two expert groups under their joint E15 Initiative project to explore policy options in the areas of climate change and clean energy and assess their interaction with trade. These two groups have been implemented in partnership with Climate Strategies, and with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Chatham House respectively.
This event showcased and discussed analysis and proposals from the E15 Initiative project, focusing on two main areas among the many issues covered. First, how the global trade system could be better equipped to stimulate a scale-up of clean energy supply and use, and second, how it can support bottom-up responses to climate change, including for example through climate clubs.
The event took place on Saturday, 5 December from 14:30-17:00 in the IETA & WBCSD Business Hub (Hall 3 No. 4).