20 de Julio de 2019| Última actualización 03:40 GMT

Climate change and trade

staff writer | 23 Agosto del 2010

Autor imagen: MarcoTrade

Delegates from different nations gathered in Bonn, Germany, in early August to try and produce a revised climate change text and thereby accelerate the negotiations process. However, as the debate advanced, it was made evident that tackling issues such as agriculture, bunker fuels, market mechanisms, and oil subsidies in the new text could seriously affect international trade. The two ad hoc working groups that met in Bonn were on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties of the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).


 Though inclusion of the above-mentioned issues is crucial for a more comprehensive and wide-reaching discussion with regard to climate change, and also has the merit of introducing the topic of international trade in such an important global debate, delegates expressed their concern that the decision to renew the UNFCC (UN Framework Climate Convention) in this direction could prove detrimental to trade.


 If a new negotiating text is produced in coming meetings of the AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP, the effect of climate change decisions on international trade will have to be taken into account more seriously.


The central concern here is that, on the one hand, trade is fuelling the international post-crisis recovery, but, on the other hand, if no climate change-related clauses are included in trade regulations, then trade could become environmentally harmful. Furthermore, the delegation of a major developing country expressed its fear that the carbon market (as well as other market mechanisms) could act as a trade-restrictive instrument, and even promote trade discrimination. Similar concerns were raised in sector-specific debates, most importantly in the discussion over bunker fuels (used for maritime and aviation transport), in which the parties concluded that new climate change measures addressing this sector could generate trade restrictions and limitations. The need to modify current agricultural production patterns and, even more difficult, lifestyle and consumption patterns was also addressed.


Moreover, as the first commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol and the Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) is reaching its end, most developing countries are trying to push the approval of a new commitment period by developed countries.


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