Trade as a tool to support climate adaptation

At the 4th Brussels Development Briefing, Mr. Melendez-Ortiz from ICTSD presented the potential of trade in the fight against climate change.

“In Africa”, Mr. Melendez-Ortiz argued, “the cost of adaptation to climate change would consume at least 5-10% of GDP by 2080”. How can we use trade to avoid these immense costs of climate change in Africa? Enhancing market access for agricultural products is an important trade policy contribution to tackling global warming and its costs.

According to Mr. Melendez-Ortiz, biofuels are a prime example of a commodity that can generate such climate-change benefits. They offer a significant export potential for certain ACP regions. However, they alone will not regulate climate change, but they can make a small contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the concerns about food security and rising food prices due to the cultivation of biomass in developing countries, it is not proven that biofuels are the reason for the rising food prices.

Mr. Melendez-Ortez acknowledged that trade liberalisation measures always need to be accompanied by other policy interventions such as technical assistance or technology transfer. “Trade liberalisation alone may not be enough to drive the diffusion and adoption of climate-friendly technologies”, he admitted.

Links:

Presentation

See more from the 13 February briefing

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