Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Trade, Finance and Climate Change

Trade and investment can play a key role in facilitating the worldwide transition to a low carbon economy through creating new market incentives.

Increased trade and investment can also engender stronger ties and promote collaboration on research and development. It can help upgrade existing facilities, foster competition in the host country, bring in new technology and facilitate its dissemination, and provide more know-how in today's more knowledge-intensive production processes.

Much emphasis has been placed on diffusing technologies in the so-called BRIC countries. Whilst this focus remains important, also critical is the need to escalate the diffusion of climate mitigation and adaptation technologies in the agricultural, industrial, transport and household sectors for the poor. Many of these are already available but difficult to diffuse due to high investment costs, a lack of incentives, and a dearth of financial resources, especially in non-BRIC countries. Winning widespread political support for global cooperation on low carbon development will require an expansive vision of the potential benefits rather than costs of the low carbon transition, for developing and developed countries alike.

Project Aims

Supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), this project aims to open up some of the myths and realities around the climate and trade agendas and generate new thinking and creative solutions for policy makers and stakeholders. The project aims to facilitate discussion and debate between both public and private actors and generate new research into the potential barriers and opportunities for low carbon development.

Project Outputs

Chatham House organises public forums and strategic roundtables as well as generating new research across areas such as competitiveness and 'carbon leakage', border adjustment measures, standards and labelling, renewable energy finance in emerging markets, innovation and technology/knowledge transfer and the associated intellectual property rights issues.

This project is divided into four thematic work streams:

  • Myths and realities: climate change measures and competitiveness
  • Understanding needs and building a vision towards low carbon trade and development for developing countries
  • Scaling up renewable energy in developing countries
  • Next steps on intellectual property rights and climate technologies


Forthcoming Publications

Piloting Low Carbon Development in the Western Cape Province of South Africa

Recent Publications

Aligning Climate and Development Agendas in the Mekong Region: Options for Regional Collaboration between Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
Programme Paper
Heike Baumuller, June 2010

Unlocking Finance for Clean Energy: The Case for 'Investment Grade Policy'
Briefing Paper
Kirsty Hamilton, December 2009

Private Financing of Renewable Energy: A Guide for Policymakers
December 2009

Developing Country Perspectives on Carbon-Based Competitiveness, Trade and Climate Change Linkages
Programme Paper
Vicente Paolo B Yu III, November 2009

Building a Low Carbon Future for Vietnam: Technological and Other Needs for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Programme Paper
Heike Baumuller, October 2009

Who Owns Our Low Carbon Future? Intellectual Property and Energy Technologies
Chatham House Report
Bernice Lee, Ilian Iliev and Felix Preston, September 2009

Trade, Competitiveness and Carbon Leakage: Challenges and Opportunities
Programme Paper
Julia Reinaud, January 2009

Intellectual Property and Alternatives: Strategies for Green Innovation
Programme Paper
Jerome Reichman, Arti K Rai, Richard G Newell and Jonathan B Wiener, January 2009
Draft paper only. Please forward all comments to:

Innovation and Technology Transfer Framework for a Global Climate Deal
Paper by E3G and Chatham House
November 2008

Mitigating Climate Change Through Technology Transfer: Addressing the Needs of Developing Countries
Programme Paper
John H Barton, October 2008


Forthcoming Events

Trade, Financing and Climate Change: Towards a Positive Agenda for Developing Countries
May 2010

Recent Events

Climate Change and Competitiveness: New Opportunities on Trade, Investment and Innovation for Developing Countries
October 2009

The Future of Technology Cooperation for Climate Change: Innovation, Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Rights
August 2009

Finance Roundtable: Emerging Markets and Renewable Energy
June 2009

Innovation and Diffusion of Climate Technologies: What Role for WIPO?
March 2009

Trade and Investment, Technology Transfer and Climate Change: The Sustainable Development Nexus
December 2008

Trade and Climate Change: Key Issues for LDCs, SVEs, and SIDS from a Competitiveness, Adaptation and Resilience Perspective
November 2008

Climate Change, Trade and Innovation: Chinese and Indian Perspectives
November 2008

On the Road to Copenhagen: Getting the Expectations Right for China the EU and the US
October 2008


Gemma Green, Programme Manager

Moore Wilson Digital Agency London