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Photo of Emily Lydgate3 March 2021

Dr Emily Lydgate is Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Sussex, and a Deputy Director of UKTPO. Chloe Anthony is a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex.

This blog was first published on LSE British Politics and Policy.

Due to differences in underlying logic, there is much potential for trade and climate policy to conflict. Fundamentally, world trade rules and agreements aim to facilitate the free movement of goods and services, and restrict subsidies that distort trade. Climate policy, on the other hand, aims to support the low-carbon economy and restrict trade in high-carbon goods and services. The UK was the first country to put its climate target into law in 2008; it has met its first two interim targets for emissions reduction and is on course to meet the third in 2022. Yet analysis has shown that the first two emissions targets were met due to changes in accounting methods and the financial crisis, rather than due to effective policymaking. (more…)

March 3rd, 2021

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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2 October 2020

The UKTPO held its third annual conference on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 September. The conference, under the theme ‘World Trade Policy: Back to the Future?’, addressed two of the most important issues in trade policy today.

Three presentations explored aspects of the as yet unknown UK trading regime after the end of the transition period, including the impact of uncertainty, the effect of tariff reversals, and the political economy of protection, respectively. Secondly, trade in the 21st century is ever more intertwined with other areas of public policy and, this year, two sessions explored the links between trade and the environment. Lastly, the conference concluded with a Roundtable discussion on trade and economic cohesion in the UK after Brexit. (more…)

October 2nd, 2020

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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Photo of Emily Lydgate26 May 2020

Dr Emily Lydgate is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

The fundamental difference between the EU and UK positions on environment and climate is that of tradition (in the UK) versus innovation (in the EU). In fact tradition is somewhat of an understatement – the UK has made good on its aspiration for a ‘Canada-style’ deal by copying the environment chapter from that Agreement in its proposed EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) more or less verbatim. This chapter is relatively mild in the level of obligation it imposes. It requires parties to uphold and enforce their own domestic environmental laws, but only if failing to do so would encourage trade and investment. Violation of this commitment does not lead to trade sanctions or fines. This raises some questions. (more…)

May 26th, 2020

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16 December 2016Richard Tol

The United Kingdom may opt to leave the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) for greenhouse gases. If so, a central plank of UK climate policy will need to be replaced at short notice. The UK is a large importer of emission permits, and meeting its climate policy targets would be much harder and dearer without the EU ETS. The impact on the EU would be limited, although UK permits circulating in the rest of the EU would lose their legal standing between Brexit and 2021. Non-EU countries take part in the EU ETS, and this appears to be the best option for the UK post-Brexit.

Richard Tol is Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex. (more…)

December 20th, 2016

Posted In: UK- EU

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