September 24, 2014 – Green Trade and Climate Action on the Road to COP21

Shifting to a cleaner energy mix is essential to limit global temperature rise to the agreed 2-degree Celsius target as highlighted by the latest IPCC report. In order to achieve this, costs of renewable energy have to come down and markets need to be strengthened so as to allow for a scale-up of innovation, production, and deployment of sustainable energy technologies. Trade policy has an important role to play in this respect. The past few years have seen significant political momentum toward bringing down trade barriers in some of the relevant clean energy goods. Examples include the APEC initiative to reduce tariffs on a list of environmental goods, US President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and the launch of trade negotiations on an environmental goods agreement (EGA) in July this year by 14 like-minded WTO members.

The launch of EGA negotiations offers a timely opportunity for trade to effectively contribute to climate action if delegations involved identify, include, and prioritise clean energy goods as a first deliverable. The initiative has the potential to contribute positively through the upcoming COP 20 in Lima to the much-anticipated COP 21 in Paris in December 2015. Against this background, ICTSD and the Guarini Center (NYU School of Law) will convene a dialogue on green trade. The purpose of the dialogue is to raise awareness of the role of trade in climate change and sustainable energy among a non-trade audience; the event will underscore the positive role trade-related initiatives can play for climate action. The dialogue will involve the climate constituency in the process in order to ensure that a future environmental trade agreement delivers for climate change.

Speakers

-James Bacchus (Chair, Global Practice at Greenberg Traurig)
-Richard Stewart (Professor, NYU School of Law)
-Michael Liebreich (Chief Executive, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, United Kingdom)
-Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, (Chief Executive Officer, ICTSD)
-Sourabh Sen (Chairman and Co-Founder, Astonfield Renewables)

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