The EU, Kenya, New Zealand and Ecuador will today launch a Global Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“We are delighted that the U.S. is joining the new global coalition of trade ministers on climate,” EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis said on Tuesday evening, after meeting his U.S. counterpart Katherine Tai in Brussels. Tai also mentioned climate change as one of the key issues where Brussels and Washington have to work together.
Refresher: The “inclusive” coalition is intended as a forum to explore ways trade can support the Paris climate goals and sustainable development. Dombrovskis floated the idea based on the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, which groups 70 countries that have signed the so-called Helsinki Principles — non-binding principles to “promote national climate action.”
‘Tremendous:’ This initiative is “tremendously good news,” according to Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, who heads the Geneva-based Forum on Trade, Environment & SDGs: “Inclusive, high-level political engagement is critical for … seizing opportunities at the interface of trade, climate and sustainable development.”
Involve civil society: “It’s a welcome first step of what should become an EU green diplomacy vis-à-vis the Global South,” Pascal Lamy, vice-president of the Europe Jacques Delors think tank, told Morning Trade.
But for the coalition to work, trade ministers “will have to reach beyond traditional trade circles, and use new input from the climate community to set specific objectives and a clear, shared path to reach them — including regularly meeting at climate summits,” said Ignacio Arroniz, from the E3G think tank.
Our take: Given the tensions on both sides of the Atlantic over the U.S. green subsidies package, it’s probably good news that countries are creating a forum to address global trade and climate issues. But who knows whether ministers will actually act, or whether this will become yet another high-level talking shop?