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Ensuring a positive contribution of trade policy to climate action towards COP 21



The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, ICTSD, and The Guarini Center on Environment, Energy and Land Use Law at NYU School of Law, are hosting a limited-invitation event in New York on 24 September from 13:00-15:30 entitled “Ensuring a positive contribution of trade policy to climate action towards COP 21”. We warmly invite you to watch the live webcast of the dialogue on our website. If you wish to attend this event in person, please contact Ms Ingrid Jegou at to request and invitation. 


The event

The event will explore the potential of the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations, launched recently by a group of 14 WTO members, to foster trade as a tool for enhancing climate action. It will also discuss how this could help support climate negotiations towards Lima and Paris.


The dialogue will involve leading voices from business, academia and government, and strive to stimulate an open and constructive conversation.


Speakers will include James Bacchus (Chair, Global Practice at Greenberg Traurig), Michael Liebreich (Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Bloomberg New Energy Finance) and Jacob Werksman (Principal Adviser, DG Clima, European Commission). For a full list of speakers, updates and more information, please visit our website.


The event will be informed by the extensive work undertaken by ICTSD in the area of environmental goods and services, and Sustainable Energy Trade Initiatives (SETIs), most of which is available here, and by the work of The Guarini Center on how such agreements can lead to greater climate action.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to bring bold actions to the 2014 Climate Summit in New York, so as to address climate change and mobilize political will for a climate agreement in 2015.


One such action should be to use trade policy to enable a scale-up of the development and supply of climate-friendly technologies, in particular in the area of clean energy. Shifting to a cleaner energy mix is essential to keep average global temperature rise below 2-degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels 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 enable a scale-up of innovation, production, and deployment of sustainable energy technologies.


Trade policy has an important role to play in this respect. Reducing tariffs and barriers to trade in goods and services related to clean energy will help private actors optimize their supply-chains, thereby pushing down costs. A collaborative effort in this direction may also provide for a better understanding of the policies and realities faced by different countries as they try to stimulate the shift to clean energy and green growth.


Reducing barriers to trade and fostering robust markets for clean energy technologies is a win-win option: it is low-cost, benefits are universal, and besides addressing climate change it has the potential of enhancing energy access- and security, and generate green jobs.


A group of 14 WTO members recently launched trade negotiations towards an Environmental Goods Agreement. The EGA is intended to eliminate bound import tariffs on environmental goods, building on a list of 54 environmental goods agreed upon by APEC a few years ago.


A successful outcome of the EGA negotiations, where priority is being given to climate-friendly goods in a first deliverable, could offer a much-needed impetus in the climate negotiations and lay the groundwork for a positive, collaborative and constructive spirit in the lead up to COP 21.


ICTSD Climate & Energy research, events, and news

Research and publications

December 2013
Transforming the APEC Outcome on Environmental Goods into a Broader Sustainable Energy Trade Initiative: What are the Options?


December 2013
List of Environmental Goods: An Overview
By Mahesh Sugathan


June 2013
The APEC List of Environmental Goods: An Analysis of the Outcome & Expected Impacts
By Rene Vossenaar


View all research and publications



8 July 2014
Green Goods Initiative: A stepping stone towards effective climate change action
Geneva, Switzerland


7-8 October 2014
Carbon emission mitigation by Consumption-based Accounting and Policy
Cambridge, United Kingdom


21-22 October 2014
The Potential of Green Trade for Climate Action on the way to COP 21
Copenhagen, Denmark


View all events


News and analysis

5 September 2014
India decides against solar import duties, while renewables push continues
Bridges Trade BioRes


2 September 2014
The road ahead for the Environmental Goods Agreement talks
Bridges Trade BioRes


22 August 2014
APEC talks “green goods,” trade remedies in background
Bridges Trade BioRes


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