> Background note: Trade and environment in the WTO

> More on trade and climate change


“The outcome of the conference in Copenhagen represents a step forward. The Kyoto Protocol addresses about 30% of global carbon emissions. In contrast, the framework accord hammered out in Copenhagen last week  may  encompass the majority of world emissions. But much work remains to be done so that we can accelerate the pace of emissions reduction and make commitments taken in Copenhagen more binding. Some have criticised the process of this meeting as cumbersome. But procedural difficulties are inevitable when leaders confront problems which are global while remaining accountable largely  to domestic politics. We are familiar with this in the WTO. Multilateral processes involve a great many actors and this makes reaching consensus complicated. But in the end, it is only through a multilateral process that we can achieve results which are legitimate and credible. During the conference the issue of border measures was raised. The WTO membership, like the UN Members in Copenhagen, is divided on this matter. But what I can say is that the more we move toward a multilateral framework on climate change, the more unilateral  trade  measures will be difficult to explain,” said Director-General Lamy.

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