The Institute and its partner on environmental issues, the World Resources Institute (WRI), cohosted a discussion on the linkages between climate change policy and trade policy on September 14, 2009. These linkages continue to be a focal point of discussion in both the Congress, as it considers legislation to set US policy toward global warming, and increasingly in the international negotiations leading up to the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December. There are two central issues: the impact of domestic climate change policy on the international competitiveness of carbon-intensive sectors of the US economy, and the relationship between whatever unilateral trade-related measures the United States deploys to address these concerns and international rules on climate and free trade.
Jacob Werksman, director of the Institutions and Governance Program at WRI, led off by discussing the current status of both the US legislative process and the international negotiations with respect to the climate change-trade interface. Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Institute, applied the analysis and conclusions of his recent book, Global Warming and the World Trading System, to the current situation and present recommendations for both US law and the global regimes.