Climate-related Single-use Environmental Goods

by Rene Vossenaar

Environmental Goods and Services Series • Issue Paper no. 13

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Climate-related Single-use Environmental Goods 3.04 MB

Addressing climate change and energy security requires massive and rapid deployment of more efficient, cleaner technologies that promote clean growth and economic gain. Carefully crafted trade policies could contribute to a rapid diffusion and transfer of clean technologies around the world and provide new incentives for innovation and investment in climate-friendly technologies.

The elimination or reduction of tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers can contribute to the diffusion of energy efficiency (EE) and the use of renewable energy (RE) technologies by reducing the costs of associated products and components and may also provide trading opportunities, including for developing countries. Building consensus on how the WTO negotiations could make the best-possible contribution to harnessing such potential through trade liberalisation has proven to be complicated though.

Especially defining climate-related environmental goods (EGs) and identifying these goods in existing tariff classifications (in particular the Harmonised System) poses many challenges. Certain products that have multiple uses because the potential environmental benefits of trade liberalisation may be uncertain are of particular concern. It may be easier to build a broad consensus around goods with an exclusive or predominantly environmental use, as potential environmental benefits are more certain.

The purpose of this issue paper is to support public understanding of the possible environmental, trade and developmental implications of the WTO negotiations on EGS, in particular for developing countries, by analysing the specific case of climate-related single-use EGs. This note analyses the identification of predominantly single-use EGs linked with climate-related technologies and also analyses corresponding trade flows, tariffs and NTBs. However, the intention of this paper is not to identify an exhaustive list of climate-related single-use EGs.

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