There are several links between trade and climate change, but in most cases these connections have been viewed as being in tension or in conflict. For example, there is concern that domestic climate change policies promoting renewable energy may be inconsistent with the rules prescribed by the World Trade Organization (WTO). There are further concerns that United Nations (UN) climate change discussions on the role of intellectual property may undermine WTO intellectual property rules.
The potential for conflict between trade and climate change policy is real. However, trade policy can also be used to support climate change action. In particular, an international trade negotiation to reduce trade barriers to goods developed using low-carbon processes could support climate change policy and create incentivize businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.