Stop world trade rules undermining climate efforts, ministers told

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The climate deal in Glasgow this month could come under legal attack from polluting multinationals unless Britain takes immediate action to reform global trade rules at an upcoming summit, ministers have warned.

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A coalition of environmental campaign groups, development charities and unions is urging the government to use its influence as host of the Cop26 climate change summit to drive through change at next week’s crucial WTO meeting. Used to be.

The group said the UK should use its “unique opportunity” to take bold action to align world trade rules with internationally agreed imperatives to keep global warming below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels Can you


one in Letter Cop26 President Alok Sharma and International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, seen by Granthshala, he called on the UK to pressure the WTO to agree a “climate waiver” that would prevent countries from using the global body to challenge each other’s climate policies.

The letter said the rules should be changed to ensure that they do not “slow down, tighten, increase costs or otherwise interfere with climate action”.

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Current WTO rules may prevent countries from introducing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because of fear of costly arbitration of cases brought by companies that lose out on change.

The letter highlighted the case of the Netherlands being sued by energy company RWE over efforts to phase out coal-fired power stations.

And it warned that the UK could face similar action from investors with a stake in fossil fuel infrastructure worth around £120 billion.

The European Union has previously been challenged by China at the World Trade Organization on the grounds of competition over its renewable energy plans.

And Indonesia and Malaysia have recently challenged EU policy on limiting the proportion of palm oil in biofuels, seen as a major cause of deforestation.

Malaysia – a leading voice in the CPTPP Pacific trade partnership in which the UK wants to join – has said the UK will have to revise its approach to palm oil to get a trade deal.

Meanwhile, a possible ministerial statement on trade and the environment is expected to be agreed at the WTO’s MC12 summit in Geneva, with members unlikely to commit to any binding action. And the UK-backed fossil fuel subsidy details appear to be limited to an agreement on “capacity-building and the sharing of information and experience”.

And WTO regulations could hinder the transfer of climate change technology to developing countries while promoting sustainable production and increasing deforestation.

“International trade rules stand in the way of action on climate change,” warned the letter, signed by 12 groups including the Trade Justice Movement, Friends of the Earth, Tradecraft, Global Justice Now and Unison.

“Taking some important steps in the right direction, the climate conference did not live up to expectations. Extreme weather events are already ravaging communities around the world, and the risk of catastrophic climate change is increasing. We need to do the best to avoid it. All means available should be used to give a good chance.”

Calling Ms Trevelyan and Mr Sharma to publicly reaffirm the UK’s commitment to ensuring trade, the letter said: “Your Government has a unique opportunity to take bold action on trade policy.”

Ruth Bergen, Senior Adviser to the Trade Justice Movement Granthshala: “The problem with environmental initiatives at the WTO is that most of them are not binding, and currently most talks about setting up negotiations about cooperation and information exchange.

“There is little evidence that they are taking an in-depth look at the WTO rules and considering how they might best be written to align with climate goals, at a rate at which This is in line with the challenge we are facing.”


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