Trade Proposal To Formalize List of "Climate-Friendly" Technologies
The so-called "Doha Round" of trade talks has been going on in Mombai. Press coverage of the outcome on climate has been largely positive, including citations of US and European trade representatives on the need to '...remove tariff barriers from solar and wind power and similar technologies.' We noticed right off that only one or two examples from a supposedly 43-item list of 'climate-friendly technologies' were cited in press reports. And, no links were provided to the "list".
That, and too-frequent use of the "climate-friendly" descriptor has just set off our Bovine Exrement Detector alarm.
Hear that creaking sound? It's the sound of hotel meeting room doors being slammed shut in far off places. Think Tanks like AEI aren't needed anymore because the power to control design and big picture incentives has just been pulled into the dark halls of international trade negotiation.
Think we're being unnecessarily cynical and negative? Fine...search around and find a World Bank-published list of 'climate friendly technologies' that does not include 'clean coal' and nuclear power. Make note of how long it took (assuming you don't work at World Bank) to find the official list (there are several of various descriptions).
These technologies remain controversial in the US and Europe - US Presidential candidates and Congressional representatives certainly don't agree on them - so why is it is good idea now to create export incentives, before the most highly educated, democratically governed populations in the world can reach public consensus and before goals are set for national emission reductions? Perhaps this was the grand strategy? Convince enough people that climate change was not real so that when the time for action came, before US elections, few would notice the solutions being proposed and put into force.
Mumbai: The US and the European Union have jointly proposed a new environmental goods and services agreement (EGSA) in the Doha round of world trade talks that seeks to remove barriers to trade to a specific set of climate-friendly technologies.
The EGSA - part of the priority action plan on climate change and energy security related technologies - will form part of the World Trade Organisation''''s Doha round negotiations, with a higher level of commitment on the part of developed and the most advanced developing countries like India.
The most transparent part of this back room deal is the US trade representatives, coming from an Administration that has, for years, openly denied that the problem even exists, whom suddenly are willing to lock in a solution without supporting an international treaty. Keeping in mind, that previous Doha rounds collapsed in disagreement, it would appear that a sense of emergency over climate is being leveraged disingenuously. This is consistent with a report in the New York Times of today:
Business lobbyists, nervously anticipating Democratic gains in next year’s elections, are racing to secure final approval for a wide range of health, safety, labor and economic rules, in the belief that they can get better deals from the Bush administration than from its successor.