Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

Can Trade and Climate Change Evolve Harmoneously Together?

On June 26, 2009, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a joint report on trade and climate change which examines the intersections between trade and climate change from four perspectives: the science of climate change; economics; multilateral efforts to tackle climate change; and national climate change policies and their effect on trade.  A copy of this important report can be obtained at the following link -

The UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said this week that:

"The transition to a green economy is the backdrop against which trade must evolve."

WTO Director-General pascal Lamy said:

"The world cannot continue with “business as usual” and there is a profound need for a successful conclusion to the current negotiations on both climate change and trade opening."

There is no simple answer to the question whether trade and climate change regimes can evolve harmoneously together.  However, it is clear that companies directly and indirectly impacted by the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change discussions and negotiations taking place in Bonn, Germany to draft an agreement on climate change to be signed in Copenhagen in December 2009 should get involved.  It is also clear that their voices need to be heard in WTO forum.  It is also clear that their voices need to be heard in connection with free trade agreement negotiations.

It is not clear how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.  It is clear that lawyers, consultants, climate change specialists, environmental specialists, trade specialists, academics, politicians and so many other need to work together.

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