Friday, March 23, 2018

Macron Weaponizes Trade in Defense of Paris Agreement

A favourable trade deal hinges on climate cooperation, EU tells US (Pic: NOAA/Captain Albert E. Theberge) Click to Enlarge.
Will other world powers ever penalize the US for withdrawing from the Paris climate deal?

So far, most leaders have shown disappointment rather than teeth at president Donald Trump’s hostile stance towards climate cooperation.

Emmanuel Macron this week raised the stakes on one of Trump’s pet topics:  trade.  The EU would be “mad” to do a trade deal with any country that refuses to implement the Paris Agreement, he told a Brussels conference.

The French president also called for a carbon border tax on imports from laggard countries.  It may be difficult in practice, but is one of the strongest (peaceable) enforcement options on the table.

And EU leaders signaled their willingness to tackle tough climate questions by ordering an updated 2050 carbon-cutting roadmap.

Inconvenient truth
Campaigners for the 1.5C global warming target tend to downplay its radicalism.  To meet the goal, they say, you need to do the same things as for 2C, only faster.

A recent study sets out, more clearly than ever before, how much extra effort is needed to avoid that extra half a degree of temperature rise.  Over the rest of the century, it will cost three times as much, with substantially more near-term action needed in the transport and buildings sectors.

Of course, that is only one side of the equation; higher warming also brings economic consequences.  But it does show 1.5C is a tougher target than many want to admit.

Green trillion
The sooner investors start making climate-smart choices, the smoother – and cheaper – the transition to a low carbon economy will be.

That is why ex-UN climate chief Christiana Figueres is spearheading an initiative to scale up finance for climate-friendly infrastructure.

Issuance of “green bonds” needs to hit $1 trillion a year by 2020, she said at a London conference on Tuesday, urging public authorities and corporates to sign a pledge.
Imaginary trees
Greenpeace is urging consumers in the US and Europe to stop buying Brazilian ipe wood, after finding widespread fraud in the certification system.

Read more at Macron Weaponizes Trade in Defense of Paris Agreement

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