2nd RTSD - Environmental Policies and International Co-operation


Environmental Policies and International Co-operation   

28 February-1 March, 1999, Washington DC



Climate Change Policies


Summary : The RTSD has focused on two issues : i) the costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol; ii) the implications of extending emissions agreement in time and space.


With reference to the first issue, it was concluded that costs of achieving Kyoto targets will be significant with domestic action alone ("no flexibility case"). Likewise relative to the "no flexibility case" costs savings associated to trading among Annex 1 countries are significant.The issue of "hot air" was identified as a key in proving the argument on the costs savings potential trading. It was noted that allowing for "hot air" might be a price to pay for assuring broader country participation, and in the absence of "hot air" the effect of backstop technologies would kick in earlier.


With reference to the second issue, scenarios based on different targets in terms of greenhouse gases concentration levels, and of different budren sharing rules ("egalitarian" or "grandfathering"), point to higher costs overall, and a greater potential for costs savings associated to trading. RTSD has mainly argued in favour of a greater degree of political realism and of immediate rules. It was pointed that involving developing countries in a global agreement is essential. To do so it was concluded that "ancillary benefits" of emission reduction and benefits of greater energy security and lower imports should be considered. Also all have agreed that a broader discussion on the development goals of non-Annex I countries should be developed. Besides the importance of emission paths at the sectoral level was stressed as a global strategy is the key of successing the Kyoto targets. Finally the debates have made more on consequence of global dialogue.


According to the RTSD insufficient progress on climate change policies has reflected a lack of dialogue in capitals between economics, and environment agencies. To develop this dialogue a joint meeting of economy/finance and environment ministers has been proposed. In conclusion, the RTSD has emphasized on the need of a global strategy with global participation (Dialogue between all interested Ministers of industrialized, emerging and developing countries).



Trade and Environment

(Washington DC, 28 February-1 March, 1999)


Summary :    The effectiveness of the use of trade measures in Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) and the relationship between MEAs and the rules of the Multilateral trading system have been discussed. The need for "formal" arrangements between the two has particularly been debated, the overriding objective being to achieve a more sustainable globalization process in the 21st century, avoiding environmental dumping and considering the environmental impact of macro economic policies. RTSD has repeated that settling the relationship between MEAs and the trade system could be taken through an interpretation of art XX of the GATT. The main problem of such relationship has been emphasized as lying with the use of "processes and production methods" and the interpretation of the WTO "like products" rules. It was pointed that there has been a need for agreed harmonized standarts. The RTSD has also focused on action taken outside the regulatory trade framework, e.g. related to ad hoc civil accountability - an area where major companies like Shell and Nike have taken initiatives - and to export credit agencies. About that, using the experience of standarts by international financial institutions like the World Bank by developing environmental standarts has been encouraged.


International Cooperation of work on sustainable development

(Washington DC, 28 February-1 March, 1999)


Summary :    It was agreed to improve co-ordination of the activities of various agencies on sustainable development, as the RTSD provides one means for achieving this.