Trade, Climate and the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy

Event organiser

Hoffmann Centre

2 December 2019, 08:30–17:00 GMT  •  Expert Roundtable

Chatham House

This event has already taken place.

Event organiser

Hoffmann Centre

The ever-increasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) have been intensifying global warming, ocean acidification, desertification and changing climate patterns. Global sea levels are predicted to rise between 0.3 and 1 meter by 2100, coastal storm surges are set to affect an additional 52 million people in 84 developing countries, and temperature increases have the potential to decrease yields of rice, maize and wheat yields to historic lows. The negative impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security could also drive millions of people into extreme poverty in the next decade. At the same time, there has been a geographical shift of power in terms of water and land use, mainly from massive migration due to extreme climate conditions. 

In this context, trade has a critical role in tackling these challenges and leading the way towards a low carbon economy. This expert workshop aims at exploring different pathways to build a refreshed trade agenda that contains forward-looking environmental provisions. 

The Paris Agreement has an essential role to advance the implementation of environmental commitments. However, a system-wide transition demands that trade and investment policies provide real incentives to support a global shift towards more sustainable use of resources. Additionally, cooperation within the trade and climate change community is not always an ongoing process, limited, for example, to discussions within specific fora such as COP. Despite enormous potential benefits, it is then particularly challenging to build momentum to address environmental issues. 

New forms of collaboration are required to answer: Can the trading system be helpful in rethinking the trade agenda for a more sustainable economy? How to involve all the different actors to deliver harmonized policies while avoiding distortions and arbitrary discriminations? How to design subsidy schemes that effectively encourage positive actions without creating negative externalities on the environment? 

The Hoffmann Centre will convene an interactive working group combining both internal and external expertise to breathe new life into the environment and trade discussion and thrive the role of trade in supporting a just transition. This workshop will focus on identifying innovative ways within the trade system to deliver positive actions for the environment and on promoting new forms of cooperation at different levels.