July 17, 2001 – Expert legal opinion, from the University of Hamburg, published in Bonn today, argues that the WTO “chill factor” should not discourage governments from signing up to the Kyoto Protocol and agreeing effective rules and mechanisms at COP 6.2 in Bonn.

The report argues that the US, in Bonn to ìprotect its trade interests, would find it extremely hard to challenge countries over policies introduced to implement the Kyoto Protocol, even if those policies distorted trade. Even measures introduced to minimize the effects of climate policies on international competitiveness – such as border tax adjustments, could be defensible if governments were to negotiate such approaches within the framework of the Protocol.

Commenting, Friends of the Earth Trade Campaigner, Duncan McLaren, said: “This welcome report is a clear call to Governments to ratify and implement the Kyoto Protocol, and to ignore the industrial lobbyists and obstructive Governments which claim – incorrectly – that Kyoto would undermine competitiveness”.

For further information contact:
Duncan McLaren – +44-7941-920 469 (in Bonn)
Ian Willmore (media liaison) 0174 160 4808

The report ìInternational Trade Law and Climate Change was written by Matthias Biuck and Roda Verheyen at the University of Hamburg for the Freidrich Ebert Stiftung.

Roda Verheyen, working for Friends of the Earth in Bonn, is available for comment on 00 49 (0)179-465 2979