Obama’s climate plan seeks new trade talks

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The White House says it will build on efforts underway through the multilateral Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group, which the plan notes in 2011 struck a deal to cut tariffs by 2015 on 54 environmental goods.

This will “serve as a foundation for a global agreement in the WTO, with participating countries expanding the scope by adding products of interest,” the White House plan states.

“Over the next year, we will work towards securing participation of countries which account for 90 percent of global trade in environmental goods, representing roughly $481 billion in annual environmental goods trade. We will also work in the Trade in Services Agreement negotiations towards achieving free trade in environmental services,” it states.

Elsewhere on international policy, the plan calls for various steps to deepen collaboration on low-carbon technologies and reducing emissions of other greenhouse gases.

For instance, it calls for new efforts through the existing “Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.”

It calls for the 17-nation Forum to launch a “major initiative” this year focused on “further accelerating efficiency gains in the buildings sector, which accounts for approximately one-third of global carbon pollution from the energy sector.”

Other international provisions include a pledge to end U.S. support for public financing for coal plant construction overseas.

The plan says there should be exceptions when plants are using the most efficient technology in poor nations in cases where no other economically viable alternative to coal exists, and if the facilities can trap and store carbon — a technology that’s very far from widespread use.

“As part of this new commitment, we will work actively to secure the agreement of other countries and the multilateral development banks to adopt similar policies as soon as possible,” the plan states.