Caroline Boin and Alec van Gelder
International climate talks in Bonn last weekend were trying to salvage December’s failed Copenhagen summit.
But some rich countries are imposing their own carbon limits anyway, and threatening to curb imports from poor countries that are not. We believe this will cripple the rich economies and harm the poor countries without doing much about emissions.
You have no doubt heard about the UN’s climate conference in Copenhagen next month. Chief among the bad ideas being touted by environmental activists and politicians in the run-up to that meeting is a proposal to permit trade restrictions on the grounds that they will help to prevent climate change (for example by encouraging governments to sign up and comply with an international agreement to restrict emissions). Pascal Lamy, director of the World Trade Organization, has even sanctioned this approach, saying that the world’s priorities should be “climate first and trade, second.” And – surprise surprise – uncompetitive industries and other vested interests have jumped on the bandwagon.
Trade – along with the increased wealth and the better, less costly products and production processes that it yields – offers people in poor countries the possibility once and for all to address chronic problems such as drought-induced famine and poverty-induced diseases. Without trade, people will be much less able to adapt themselves to the climate they face now and in the future. Meanwhile, imposing restrictions on trade will inhibit specialisation and innovation, which may slow down the development of low-carbon technologies. In other words, trade restrictions are neither desirable nor are they an effective way to prevent climate change.
This petition against green protectionism is sponsored by IPN and the Freedom to Trade Campaign. If you agree, then use our online signup form to add your name (and then to confirm, click on email link that is sent to you.)
We call upon the World’s leaders to resist calls for green protectionism. Trade enables specialisation, which results in the development of new technologies and leads to the creation of wealth. In the past two decades, trade has enabled over a billion people to escape poverty. Trade is the most powerful weapon in humanity’s armoury to fight poverty and environmental ills, including climate change. Trade restrictions are not desirable, nor are they an effective means of addressing climate change.
SIGN THE PETITION: online sign-up form