Trade Must Move Up Global Climate Change Agenda, WTO Chief Says

(Bloomberg) -- The head of the World Trade Organization urged envoys at the COP28 climate conference to put trade policy at the forefront of the fight against global warming.

Delegates from more than 190 countries are meeting in Dubai to discuss ways to make good on global climate goals, and support initiatives to tackle methane emissions, accelerate renewables and accelerate the shift away from coal. The role of trade has now to come into focus, according to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“We’re still warming and if we keep going the way we are we will never hit the target,” she said in an interview. “But there’s still a chance and that’s why we’re thinking we need to highlight the role of trade now to make people realize that free, open and predictable trade is an essential part of the tool kit for getting to net zero.”

The measures that governments could take include adjusting tariffs to incentivize renewables, greening up procurement rules or redesigning the current system of subsidies for fossil fuels and agriculture that harm the environment and distort trade.