In this context, the announcement by New Zealand, Costa Rica, Fiji, Iceland and Norway at the climate change summit to launch negotiations in February 2020 for a new “Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability Agreement” (ACCTS) is remarkable. These countries are not large economies or major emitters of greenhouse gases. As announced in the communication on the launch of the initiative, these are “relatively small, outward-looking and trade-dependent countries” that aim for sustainable and inclusive economic development. The successful adoption of a ACCTS is about climate leadership, for example, not leadership through structural economic power. It is well known that countries urgently need to strengthen their climate and environmental measures. If we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, there is a critical need for stronger global action. The need for a constructive role for trade policy in the fight against climate change can no longer be questioned. Trade must play a supporting role in achieving the SDGs and world trade organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azavédo has acknowledged that “the broader international community, including the WTO, must contribute to the fight against climate change.” With this event, we hope that the agenda will add up to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The parties will examine a number of trade-related issues that have the potential to make a meaningful contribution to the fight against climate change and other serious environmental issues. The following key areas are discussed: third, negotiations must allay fears that trade agreements are bad for the environment by implementing them in an open and transparent manner. Although some negotiations are to take place behind closed doors, consultation mechanisms or other mechanisms of complacency on the part of civil society organizations (NGOs) will be important in ensuring the legitimacy of the agreement.
In addition, given the content of the agreement, it will be essential to allow conclusions from the scientific community. Finally, transparency about the intentions of negotiating partners, the measures taken and the results achieved can help build confidence in other countries and thus win new participation. CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuels are one of the main causes of climate change and threaten catastrophic and irreparable damage to the environment and human civilization. To mitigate the effects of climate change, global fossil fuel consumption is needed, but many governments maintain subsidy programs to help fossil fuel producers and consumers. Although international institutions such as the OECD, the G20 and the United Nations have recognized the importance of reforming these subsidy programmes, little progress has been made. The content of the agreement has yet to be defined, but the intention is to at least remove barriers to trade in environmental goods and services, remove fossil fuel subsidies and develop guidelines for voluntary eco-label programs. This broad scope is taking new paths in several respects. First, although the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, which includes New Zealand, agreed on a list of environmental products as early as 2011, the extension of negotiations to environmental services will continue to support the dissemination and use of climate-friendly technologies. Second, the introduction of binding rules for the removal of environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies would be a major step forward from the existing voluntary and vague commitments made by the Group of 20 (G20) and APEC to end such subsidies. Krister Nilsson, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave a keynote address at the seminar. He described the priorities of