The next big international trade deals should focus on green growth. By John Mathews
Why not push for a comprehensive trade deal creating a free market in clean technology goods?
President Obama, in his remarks on climate change in June said that he would direct his administration to “launch negotiations toward global free trade in environmental goods and services, including clean energy technology, to help more countries skip past the dirty phase of development and join a global low-carbon economy.”
Such a WTO agreement would underwrite market expansion for green goods worldwide. Developing countries would have an incentive to base their industrial strategies on green growth rather than black (coal- and oil-fired) growth. And it would provide developed countries with export markets for their new clean technologies and equipment.
Such an agreement would also curb the shift to the revival of fossil fuels in the form of coal seam gas and tar sands oil. Instead, it would keep the world focused firmly on renewable goods and energy systems – which because they are manufactured and are traded would form the core of a global agreement.
Finally, because a clean tech trade agreement would promote trade and investment in green growth, it would deliver far more secure cuts in carbon emissions than commitments under a Kyoto-style agreement could ever hope to achieve.