A changing climate landscape?
As delegates from nearly 200 nations prepare to head to Lima, Peru for the latest round of UNFCCC talks, there are positive signs suggesting progress toward a 2015 global climate agreement. Word of a China-US deal in November came as a surprise to many in the climate community, as the two economic giants – once at loggerheads over climate action – unveiled plans to cut emissions, including post-2020 climate targets.
And just over a week later, the Green Climate Fund – geared towards helping poor countries tackle climate change and transition to low-carbon growth – received an influx of formal financing pledges at a meeting held in Berlin, Germany. Progress on the Fund has been held up as a key signal of trust and solidarity between participating nations in the climate talks.
Both moves add to other important developments this autumn, including the New York UN climate summit, which saw 125 world leaders point to climate change as a national priority, and the October announcement that the 28-nation EU reached political agreement on new climate and energy targets for 2030.
At the same time, however, warnings from climate scientists and experts on the state of the planet are becoming increasingly ominous. A UN panel recently released a synthesis of more than 5000 pages of climate science warning of the far-ranging climate consequences if current growth models continue unabated. Additional reports unveiled in recent weeks from other UN bodies, think tanks, and civil society add to this core message.
As key events unfold in Lima and elsewhere, many following the negotiations – particularly those in vulnerable communities most at risk to the effects of climate change – are wondering if the world will manage to sufficiently cut emissions and shift to greener economic models. This latest issue of BioRes joins the conversation with several articles focused on the multidimensional issues at play at the nexus of climate and trade policy.
While shifting to a cleaner energy mix will play a key role in tackling climate-warming emissions, bringing down tariffs and non-tariff barriers around certain core environmental goods is crucial to helping reduce costs and deploying sustainable energy. With this in mind Rene Vossenaar looks at how to secure goods with climate potential in the ongoing plurilateral negotiations by 14 WTO members towards an Environmental Goods Agreement.
In addition Harro van Asselt reflects on potential trade and economic issues in the EU’s new climate and energy targets while Ramesh Sharma asks questions around trade policy and climate-resilient agriculture.
Be sure to join the conversation! Do write to us, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and comment on our website. As in previous years, BioRes will be reporting from the UN climate talks, providing regular coverage with a particular focus on trade and sustainable development issues as the negotiations unfold. Also, be sure to look out for our BioRes Lima Updates, featuring on-site reporting by our team.
The BioRes Team