According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), new trading opportunities can positively address the challenge of climate change.

This is one of the key issues, teased out in the organisation’s latest annual report.

Analysis carried out by the WTO confirms that eliminating tariffs and reducing non-tariff measures on a subset of energy-related environmental goods could boost exports by 5% by 2030 while driving energy efficiency.

The increased uptake of renewable energy technologies would reduce global emissions by 0.6%.

Trading opportunities and climate change

In addition, a global shift to clean energy will generate as many as 30 million new jobs in clean energy and related sectors by 2030, according to the report.

According to the WTO, international trade can play an essential role in climate adaptation, risk prevention, reduction and disaster preparedness.

The organisation also recognises that sustainable food production practices must play an important part of the global response to climate change.

Specifically where sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are concerned, WTO representatives have adopted a declaration on responding to challenges that may significantly impact international trade in food, animals and plants.

Recognising the evolution of the global agricultural landscape since the adoption of the original SPS Agreement in 1995, the new declaration foresees WTO carrying out additional work in this field, reflecting  new opportunities and emerging challenges.

These issues include population growth, climate change, innovation, new technologies, pest/disease pressures and persisting obstacles to trade.

Food security

The WTO has set itself the objective of facilitating global food security for the future. Themes that will be addressed in this context include its support for SPS measures on scientific evidence and principles.

The organisation said it will also act to enhance safe international trade in food, animals and plants and products through the adaptation of SPS measures to regional conditions.

It will cooperate with observer organisations that support the envisaged SPS-related work and international standard setting bodies.

The WTO will also commit to supporting the increased participation of developing and least-developed country members in the development and application of SPS measures.

Trade rules

The WTO operates the global system of trade rules, guaranteeing WTO member governments important trade rights.

It provides a forum for its members to lower trade barriers through negotiations and oversees a system for resolving the trade problems they face with each other.

It also helps developing economies improve their capacity to trade.

The overall objective of the WTO is to help its members use trade as a means to raise living standards, create jobs and improve people’s lives.