WTO Public Forum Debates Sustainable Energy Use and Carbon Footprint Standards
17 September 2010: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2010, held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15-17 September 2010, included stakeholders in discussions on policies to promote sustainable energy use, as well as measuring, pricing and standards for carbon dioxide emissions.
Session 1 on sustainable energy use and trade debated how to promote energy efficiency, reduce fossil fuel subsidies, and unlock the current environmental goods and services negotiations at the WTO to move the world towards more sustainable energy use. Among the panelists, Richard Bradley of the International Energy Agency (IEA) stressed that the energy system needs to be transformed quickly. He highlighted that non-OECD countries now account for 93% of growth in energy demand, and said massive transformation will have to come through supply side changes, but energy efficiency policies could buy countries time before they can be implemented.
Session 7 on the topic of "Beyond border carbon adjustment measures: Standards, labelling and the issue of emission allowances" noted that the absence of an international agreement on climate change is leading to ad hoc solutions in individual countries, which places additional costs on those countries with the least responsibility for the climate issue, like African countries. They also noted that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is currently working on an international standard to measure carbon footprints, to be released in 2012. Webcasts of the meeting are available online. [More information]