Academic Paper

Climate Equivalence and International Trade

Lydgate, E. (2023). Climate Equivalence and International Trade. World Trade Review, 22(3-4), 484-496. doi:10.1017/S1474745623000083

Published 6 September 2023

This article examines a significant question in navigating trade and climate tension: how to recognize another country as having equivalent climate regulations. Such equivalence forms a core component of many proposed models of so-called climate clubs. Establishing equivalence between distinct national climate regulation regimes poses a unique challenge that draws upon both trade and environmental international cooperation. Drawing on existing proposals, the author examine prospects for country-based cooperation through three models: ETS-linking, benchmarking of shared methods and minimum standards, and benchmarking of outcome duties. The analysis concludes that all models necessitate some trade-offs between the goals of rigorous oversight of climate objectives, inclusivity, and WTO compliance. Benchmarking of shared methods and minimum standards seems most feasible, and would provide a deeper level of integration between trade and climate cooperation, but necessitates a shift in how countries, particularly the EU, oversee regulatory compliance.

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Emily Lydgate

Research Theme Lead for 'Negotiating a Turbulent World'

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