Climate change and trade agreements: friends or foes?

Dawar, Kamala, Haider, Ailia and Green, Adam (2019) Climate change and trade agreements: friends or foes? Technical Report. Economist Intelligence Unit, London.

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Abstract

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shone a spotlight on the devastating humanitarian consequences the world can expect if global warming exceeds 1.5°C. Despite the 2015 Paris Agreement, most countries’ climate policies show a chronic lack of ambition and the world remains on track for temperature increases of more than 3°C. Against this backdrop, the world needs transformative solutions. In climate policy discussions, relatively little attention is paid to the global trade architecture. Bilateral, regional or World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade agreements could help to meet climate goals—for example, by removing tariffs and harmonising standards on environmental goods and services, and eliminating distortionary and poorly designed subsidies on fossil fuels and agriculture. Despite the potential for trade–climate synergies, the weight of historical evidence is heavy in the other direction. Universal tariff reduction has increased trade in carbon-intensive and environmentally destructive products, such as fossil fuels and timber, more than it has for environmental goods. In some cases FTAs can also shrink the “policy space” available to countries to pursue environmental goals, for example if they prohibit, or are perceived to prohibit, a country’s ability to distinguish between products according to emissions released during their production. This report assesses the degree to which the WTO and four contemporary free trade agreements (FTAs) —CPTPP, EU–Singapore, EU–Canada and Korea–Australia—support seven opportunities for boosting climate-friendly trade flows.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Technical Report)
Additional Information: The report was produced by a team of researchers, writers, editors and graphic designers, including: Conor Griffin – Project director Diana Hindle Fisher – Project manager Ailia Haider – Researcher Kamala Dawar – Contributing researcher Adam Green – Contributing author Gareth Owen – Graphic designer
Keywords: Trade Agreements, Climate Change
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Depositing User: Kamala Dawar
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2019 15:02
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2019 15:03
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83255

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