A climate deal: easier than trade?

January 29, 2009

Conventional wisdom has it that if the leaders of the world can’t agree on a round of negotiations to liberalise world trade then there’s no chance they will agree on measures to tackle climate change.

After all, a pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions will involve re-tooling vast swathes of industry and impact the way companies do business from Boston to Beijing.

But is that view right? British economist Nicholas Stern – author of a seminal report in 2006 on the economic fallout of global warming – thinks not.

“Actually, agreement on climate change, I think, will be easier than agreement on trade,” he told reporters in Davos. “People understand climate change much better than trade.”

The crunch will come in December, when world leaders meet in Copenhagen to hammer out a replacement for the current Kyoto protocol which expires in 2012.


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Simple solution to global warming and the economy

Impose a consumer tax proportional to the amount of CO2 that was used to produce the product. This way products produced in Norway will be taxed next to zero (Norvay gets pretty much all of its Elec from hydro) while those made in China will be taxed lots (dirty coal). This will provide a direct incentive for countries to switch over to low carbon energy while at the same time re-balance world trade.

Posted by Deng Xiaopeng | Report as abusive

Sorry, but climate change is at minimum as complex as economy. A lot of different factors, a lot of relationships not very well understand…
Perhaps a political process seems easier in the UNCCC than in WTO, but the science behind is not clearer…
In the context of the actual economic recession, I fear doubt that solution will not come from a tax, a carbon market or the green technologies to solve unemployement and credit crunch.

Posted by Araucan | Report as abusive

Both are complicated and related. It is going to be difficult because without economic certainty those who suffer will want to see economic progress so they have the basics in life like food and shelter for themselves and family. You need economic certainty to ensure environmental protection.

Those who have, like a previous US vice president who continues to have a very high carbon footprint will push an agenda which will not be of any concern for a working people of the world.

Always complicated. I wish everyone good luck.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive