Mega-Regional Trade Agreements and Post-2015 Climate Protection: Bridging the Gap

in Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law
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2015 is an important year for both climate and trade policy. While in the climate community eyes are set on the cop21 in Paris for a new climate policy framework which would succeed Kyoto, trade negotiators are preparing for the final phases of negotiations on so-called “mega-regional” trade agreements like the tpp, ttip, and ceta. This paper argues that the current momentum should be harnessed to make trade policy part of the “enabling environment” for emission reductions. This would reflect worldwide economic trends with respect to growing markets for low-carbon technologies like renewable energy and energy-efficiency. However, it would also mean a new approach in the relationship between trade and the environment, and a shift of focus from regulatory space to common regulation and targeted trade-liberalization of climate-friendly goods and services. This contribution explores ways in which trade liberalization and climate policy can be effectively linked in eu trade agreements under negotiation, focusing on, i.a., the liberalization of trade in low-carbon goods and services and a regulatory alignment of emissions standards.