Climate change is having a profound impact on people’s lives across the world. Mitigating and adapting to climate change will require major economic investment and coordinated action to transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. This report explores the complex interlinkages between climate change, international trade, and climate and trade policies.
Although international trade generates greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate-related natural disasters, it can also play an essential role in helping countries reduce emissions by increasing the availability and affordability of environmental goods, services and technologies. International trade can also play a key role in helping countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and build future resilience.
This research shows how international trade and trade rules can contribute to addressing climate change. Ensuring trade and climate change policies are mutually supportive requires global coordination and transparency about government measures. The WTO already plays an important role in helping countries tackle climate change by maintaining a predictable trading environment underpinned by WTO rules that allow for international trade in critical goods and services needed to cope with the consequences of climate change and to reduce emissions. Further international cooperation at the WTO could strengthen the mutual supportiveness of trade and climate change policies so that the world is better equipped to transition to a low-carbon economy.