Global Experiences and the Korean Perspective
KDI/EWC series on Economic Policy
Edited by Chin Hee Hahn, Sang-Hyop Lee and Kyoung-Soo Yoon
Chapter 6: Climate Change Meets Trade in Promoting Green Growth: Potential Conflicts and Synergies
ZhongXiang Zhang INTRODUCTION Climate and trade policies both affect the use of natural resources. Their linkages are recognized in the objectives of the corresponding agreements to safeguard the two regimes. The ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. An underlying principle to guide this effort is that “measures taken to combat climate change, including unilateral ones, should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade.” At the same time, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement recognizes that trade should be conducted “while allowing for the optimal use of the world’s resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development, seeking both to provide and preserve the environment and to enhance the means for doing so.” Clearly, the main aim of both the UNFCCC and the WTO is to ensure efficiency in the use of resources, from the perspective of either maximizing the gains from the comparative advantage of nations through trade or ensuring that economic development is environmentally sustainable. Therefore, the objectives of the UNFCCC (and its Kyoto protocol) and the WTO are not explicitly in conflict with each other. However, the possibility of conflicts may arise in implementing the Kyoto protocol and any international regime to succeed it as countries aim for green growth. With greenhouse gas emissions embodied in virtually all products produced and traded in every conceivable economic sector, effectively addressing climate change will require...
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