Trade and Climate Policies Must Be Linked in Post-Kyoto World

  • Published on October 2nd, 2008

386198516_cc06f2ee5d An article over at SciDev.net today has caught my attention, as it should yours. Written by Glen Peters, a senior research fellow at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway, the article focuses on the idea that in a post-Kyoto Protocol world, trade and climate policies must be linked.

Peters’ main example was, rightfully so, China, and the mixed responsibilities in ensuring that their export and trade industry does not single-handedly doom the planet to a carbon ridden future.

A quick look at China’s emissions will see the country placed atop the world’s greenhouse gas emissions list. Many attempt to blame this on Chinese production, as well as having to cope with a burgeoning population. However, at least a third of China’s territorial emissions come from the production of exports.

In fact, Peters’ points out that over the period between 2002 and 2005, only 15% of China’s emissions growth came from household and government consumption. The rest came from export, capital investments and export industries.

One of the interesting points made in the article focuses on the protectionist measures that many industries in developed countries want governments to take. In an attempt to make life cheaper and easier for them, they use the environment as a shield and China as a scapegoat for why they should be granted tax credits, subsidies and other such measures.

However in doing this they negate their own role in China’s growing economy. Without a doubt, China must be pushed into a position where they must tighten their environmental legislation and focus on “greening” their current energy generation. But similarly, industries in developed nations across the world must see their role in what is happening in China.

You only need to look at the tag on the shirt you are currently wearing to get an idea of how much developed western nations rely on exports from China. And though we might have bought our tops from a chain of stores local to where we live, and from a company that is local to the country we live in, the tag will still read “Made in China.”

Developed nations far too often attempt to shift the blame. The same can be said for industries within those developed nations.

So it is up to those developed nations and their respective industries to push China into a more environmentally friendly position. New installations – both power generation and production – must use the latest in environmentally friendly technology. This not only helps the environment – which is the long term goal – but also saves money immediately.

For the whole article, and a more in depth explanation of why trade and climate policies must be linked, check out the full article here.

credit: kevindooley at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.