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Japan Legal Action Against Ontario Green Energy Act “Concern” for WTO – International Institute Sustainable Development

11/10/2011

IISD convenes meeting at WTO – international trade/investment laws

GENEVA—October 11, 2011—The International Institute for Sustainable Development has convened a one-day meeting of specialists from the climate change and the international trade law communities aimed at developing a better framework to address unilateral trade-related action on climate change, at the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva on Thursday.

“Several high profile measures have already sparked legal challenges in the WTO, a clear sign of things to come,” said IISD senior advisor and associate Aaron Cosbey.

The most prominent case is the action Japan has brought against Canada over Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which provides preferential incentives to green energy (solar and wind), but only if it uses components manufactured by local manufacturers. If Japan succeeds, it could mean lost jobs and a roadblock to Ontario’s ambitions to be a clean energy exporter.

“This is a major concern to all members of the WTO, as the uncertainty has stalled critical and urgent investments in clean energy infrastructure and other climate change-related investments,” said Cosbey.

Despite the urgency, Cosbey said it will still take years to establish a framework to deal with the complex issues. “This meeting is just the beginning, but the issues are so important we expect a lively and productive discussion at the very least.”

He said the aim is to foster greater international cooperation in an effort to keep investment flowing in the direction of initiatives that help countries develop the infrastructure needed for climate change adaptations and mitigation.

The meeting will also look at issues around border carbon adjustment, which pose serious challenges for international cooperation on trade and investment, as well as in the ongoing climate change negotiations.

Please see the agenda for a full list of presenters at the conference: Trade, Investment and Climate Change: Searching for Progress on Key Issues,on October 13, 2011.

source: IISD

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