May 21, 2008
Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102
Globalization and Global Warming
New Report Reveals Link between Trade Policies, Climate
Richmond, VA: A new report released today by the Sierra Club highlights how current U.S. trade policies contribute to global warming and work against the best efforts of countries around the world to reduce global warming emissions. The report also lays out the steps the U.S. must take to revise its trade model to effectively combat global warming.
"Unfortunately, our flawed trade model is making global warming worse at a time when we should be instead leading the world in solving this problem," said Margrete Strand Rangnes, director of the Sierra Club’s responsible trade program. "It’s time for the U.S. to step up and lead the move to a clean energy economy. We can’t do that without changing our current trade rules."
Though often overlooked, irresponsible trade practices contribute dramatically to global warming— increasing the volumes and distances of goods shipped, enabling rapid deforestation, and thwarting environmentally friendly production requirements. Deforestation alone, much of it driven by the trade of illegally logged timber, now accounts for one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Stern report on the economics of climate change, which documents the impacts and costs of global warming.
The report takes an in-depth look at the dampening effect the World Trade Organization (WTO) has had on previous environmental efforts and lays out the requirements for creating an effective climate policy. The full report can be found at www.sierraclub.org/trade.
Key Recommendations from the report include:
- New Model for Trade: All new trade agreements must include meaningful and binding labor and environmental provisions. A clear commitment by all WTO member countries must be made to ensure that trade rules cannot challenge or overturn climate measures. Governments must be granted the freedom to implement climate protections without fear of reprisal, and the WTO’s practices of disregarding environmental considerations must come to an end.
- Create New Jobs: Slowing climate change presents a unique opportunity to create good jobs. To take advantage of this opportunity, climate policies must include measures aimed at preventing polluting companies from relocating to areas with weak or non-existent climate regulations.
- End Deforestation and Illegal Logging: The U.S. is one of the largest markets for timber products. Preventing illegally harvested timber and timber products from entering our markets can dramatically reduce deforestation.
"The US has a global responsibility to curb its global warming emissions," said Strand Rangnes. "But we will not have accomplished much if companies simply relocate to countries without global warming regulations. Unlike our badly designed trade policies, our climate policies must be thoughtfully designed to effectively fight global warming, while boosting the economy and creating jobs here at home."