This is my op-ed, "Low-carbon innovation versus trade war", from todays China Daily (link to the article here) . It was great timing as documents about Border Tax Adjustment (BTA) started to float around in Copenhagen yesterday and today. While this issue might sound boring it is one of the biggest challenges ahead. WTO and the global climate work will collide when serious work to reduce emissions begin unless we create a framework for cooperation. The op-ed here is an attempt to explore ways to collaborate instead of fight in old ways.
The UN General Assembly and the G20 in Pittsburgh marked a new era. At both meetings, President Hu Jintao presented China's climate policy and put it in a global context with a clear and much-needed message that global collaboration is necessary.
China could propose initiatives to encourage trade and investment in low-carbon solutions. China could also suggest that a system is created where solutions-providing companies can report their contribution to reduced emission through their products and services. Today, the focus is on how much polluting companies are emitting, but in the future the focus should shift to how much the solutions-providing companies are helping reduce emissions.
It is important to remember that the main problem is the high-carbon lifestyles in Western counties. What the world needs is solutions that can provide a high quality of life with low emissions. Instead of focusing on where the emissions happen today, China can help shift the focus to the need for low-carbon lifestyles.