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Climate change confined to mere annex in draft WTO deal

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Reuters or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: At the WTO's biennial meeting in Abu Dhabi, climate change discussions were relegated to a single paragraph in a draft agreement, reflecting "deep divergences" among member countries
• Despite the WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's efforts to prioritize climate change, significant disagreements remain on incorporating environmental issues into trade negotiations

🔭 The context: Okonjo-Iweala has proposed integrating sustainable trade practices within the WTO's framework, addressing fossil fuel subsidies, and harmonizing carbon pricing
• However, countries like India oppose such moves, arguing that the WTO should focus solely on trade issues, not climate change or other non-trade related subjects

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The debate underscores the challenges of aligning global trade policies with environmental sustainability goals
• With the threat of trade policy fragmentation and the existence of over 70 carbon pricing schemes worldwide, the WTO's role in facilitating a unified approach to climate change is crucial but contested

⏭️ What's next: Discussions among groups of countries on environmental topics, such as reducing fossil fuel subsidies and banning trade in certain plastics, offer a glimmer of hope 
• These "plurilateral" talks could eventually lead to broader negotiations on new rules that are binding for all member countries, promoting environmental sustainability through trade policies

💬 One quote: "What we do not want is a new form of protectionism to arise. But these are things that can only be treated if you are at the table engaging in the give and take," (Kerrie Symmonds, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Barbados)

📈 One stat: The draft agreement discussed at the WTO meeting in Abu Dhabi contains 56 pages, yet only dedicates a single paragraph to climate change, highlighting the contentious nature of integrating environmental concerns into global trade discussions

Click for more news covering the latest on environmental sustainability

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