In order to meet the goals set out in the Paris agreement, it is necessary to urgently scale-up climate action. This must reach beyond climate policy. Trade policy is one tool which could be put to use to actively support climate action while removing any measures which may, sometimes unintentionally, slow down the transition to a low carbon economy. This event will look at the role of trade in NDCs, and dwell on how climate is featured in trade agreements.
Trade is necessary for scaling up the dissemination of clean energy technologies and products with low-emissions content at the global level. In order for this to happen, externalities from trade, including transport, must however be adequately addressed, and counter-productive tools such as fossil fuel subsidies and local content requirements must be disciplined. The role of trade policy in contributing to the success of the Paris Agreement is thus pivotal.
The international community is beginning to recognise the role of trade as a facilitator for climate action. The full potential of trade in accelerating climate action is however far from being reached. Indeed, while 45 percent of all Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) include a direct reference to trade or trade measures, less than half of these are specifically geared towards fostering mitigation.
At the same time, the climate-trade nexus is increasingly becoming visible in regional trade agreements, RTAs. A number of recent, innovative RTAs make specific reference to climate concerns, either through broad declarations of intent in the preambles or more specific commitments, for instance through carefully drafted trade exceptions for environmental measures.
This side-event explored steps that can be taken to increase the potential of trade and trade measures to support climate protection by presenting an overview of trade in NDCs, as well as climate provisions in RTAs. The event drew upon research by ICTSD, as well as on an assessment of the recently agreed Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, CETA, between the EU and Canada, commissioned by President Macron of France and to which ICTSD contributed.
The side-event took place on Wednesday, 15 November, from 18:30-20:00 at the EU Pavilion in the COP23 Bonn Zone.