“There are a lot of challenges here that are surmountable but have to be dealt with one by one by all of us. I think for the Americans and the Europeans in particular, the challenges are first to not only agree to but to implement meaningful emission reduction targets. I think also the challenge is going to be to avoid adding on protectionist measures and trade barriers that are intended to limit imports of carbon-intensive products from countries that perhaps haven’t adopted the targets.
“One way to avoid that of course is if everybody agrees to targets and we have a multilateral approach to the problem. Even in the absence of that though, having those kinds of trade barriers is going to make the achievement of all of our goals a lot more difficult, and one of the things we’re [the NFTC] working very hard on is to try to make sure that that doesn’t become a big impediment as far as the American legislation is concerned.
“In turn, I think the challenges for the developing countries, including India and China, but also many others, are first also to agree to targets that are meaningful and give global confidence that we’re all working together to deal with a global commons problem. And also I think their challenge, where a lot of progress has been made very recently, I think in particular reflected in the statement the Prime Minister made here, is on the intellectual property area.
“I think there is a growing appreciation amongst all parties, particularly in developing countries, that strong intellectual property protection is actually an enhancement to investment, an enhancement to R&D in their countries, and is a way for developing countries to protect green innovation and green technology that are very much going to be the products of India and China and not simply of Europe and the United States. So, I’m optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction on that front although there have been a lot of statements in the past that have suggested that this was going to be a rocky area.”
Reinsch also called on the international community to produce an environmental goods and services trade agreement that will lower tariffs and market-access barriers to green technology.
Note: Next Tuesday NFTC Vice President for Global Trade Issues Jake Colvin will testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing to explore the international aspects of global climate change.