• back


    News Brief: Trade and Climate Change


    International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2010

    Beyond Copenhagen

    The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009 resulted in more than 100 countries backing a non-binding Copenhagen Accord. More than US$ 30 billion in climate aid for 2010 to 2012 was pledged to help poor nations face the impacts of climate change.

    UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said COP15 had produced three key outcomes: raising climate change to the highest level of government; political consensus on the long-term, global response to climate change, and negotiations which brought the set of decisions to implement rapid climate action closer to completion.

    Preparatory meetings between representatives from the world's leading economies were recently held in Washington ahead of the December UN COP16 summit in Cancun, Mexico.

    UN Chief: World Needs Clean Energy Revolution

    On 28 April, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a report by his advisory group on energy and climate change calling for "universal access to modern energy services" by 2030 and stressing the need to cut energy intensity by 40 per cent by the same year.

    "We cannot achieve the [poverty reduction] Millennium Development Goals without providing access to affordable modern energy," said Mr Ban in highlighting that rich and poor nations need a "clean energy revolution" in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.

    Noting that 1.6 billion people around the world lack access to electricity while 2 to 3 billion still rely on traditional energy sources such as firewood, peat or dung, Mr Ban said access to energy must be expanded "in the cleanest, most efficient way possible".

    The report said these ambitious goals can be achieved through technology innovation by adopting appropriate national strategies and international finance, including innovative financial mechanisms, climate finance and private sector participation.

    2010 Climate Competitiveness Index Shows Promising Gains

    The annual Climate Competitiveness Index (CCI) shows that in spite of uncertainty surrounding international climate negotiations, countries forged ahead with low-carbon growth strategies in the first quarter of 2010. It concludes that despite gaps in performance and accountability, 46 per cent of countries have demonstrated some improvement in climate accountability since the UNFCCC Copenhagen conference in December 2009.

    Produced by the independent non-profit institute AccountAbility, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, it is the most comprehensive study to date of national progress to create green jobs and economic growth through low-carbon products and services.

    The CCI predicts that the global market for low-carbon products and services will be in excess of US$ 2 trillion in 2020. However, to secure this market, countries need ambitious climate competitiveness strategies and the institutional infrastructure to build markets and convince investors.

    For more information visitwww.accountability.org

    FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010

     According to The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), world deforestation, mainly the conversion of tropical forests to agricultural land, has slowed over the past 10 years but continues at an alarmingly high rate in many countries. Covering 233 countries, the study was the most comprehensive forest review to date, and found that globally around 13 million hectares of forests were converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year between 2000 and 2010 as compared to about 16 million hectares per year during the 1990s.

    "For the first time, we are able to show that the rate of deforestation has decreased globally as a result of concerted efforts taken both at local and international levels," said Eduardo Rojas, Assistant Director-General of FAO's Forestry Department. "However, the rate of deforestation is still very high in many countries and the area of primary forest - forests undisturbed by human activity - continues to decrease, so countries must further strengthen their efforts to better conserve and manage them," he added.

    European Air Closures Impact on African Exporters

    European airspace closures resulting from the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano on 14 April have had a detrimental effect on the exports of many developing countries, particularly African producers of perishable goods. With Europe being the prime destination for African horticulture exports and products such as cut flowers, the horticulture industry has been the worst affected, but others, such as the fishing industry, have also been badly affected.

    East African countries have been hit particularly hard as horticultural products, largely exported by airfreight, constitute a large source of revenue for the economies in this region. The crisis illustrates the vulnerability of airfreight transport and those who depend on it.

    The European Union has suggested that it may compensate the airline industry for the loss of business. No such explicit suggestion of government assistance has been made to producers in African countries, leaving producers and exporters across East Africa alone to face the effects of the crisis.