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Good morning, this is Michelle and today’s focus is on how green – and blue – ambitions are rattling the world of trade.

At the WTO headquarters in Geneva, fish was on the menu as trade ministers wrangled over a deal to curb billions of dollars in damaging fishing subsidies – a key contributor to the world's dwindling stock of fish. Although hailed as a success, talks still have several nautical miles to go.

The new EU green border tax intends to level the playing field between domestic firms already paying a hefty fee for their CO2 emissions and foreign competitors from countries with laxer climate rules. However, it will barely affect global carbon emissions, a UN report warns.

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Michelle Langrand


Climate & environment news

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WTO director general Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala with Amb. Santiago Wills, chair of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, at the WTO headquarters in Geneva on Thursday 15 July, 2020. Photos: WTO/Bryan Lehmann

🎣 Just keep swimming. The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) declared yesterday's 11-hour meeting of trade ministers “a success”, saying that negotiations over a long-awaited deal to stop overfishing had been given some extra political firepower. However, big differences remain with several countries voicing their concerns over the draft agreement. A deal to stop harmful subsidies that lead to overfishing has been in discussion for more than two decades. WTO director-general Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said jokingly: "If we have to lock ourselves up in a room, we will do so in order to get through this".

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Number of the day

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🧾The new EU green border tax will have a marginal impact on climate change while taking a toll on countries still relying on less carbon efficient processes and technologies, widening the rich and poor gap, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has warned. On the upside, the pioneering mechanism will force foreign firms to pay a polluters fee, potentially reducing carbon leakage by half and perhaps even encouraging other leading economies to follow suit and join the carbon pricing movement.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

In case you missed it

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Orangutan Elze walking in the Biopark of Rio, Brazil, in March, 2021. (KeystoneAP Photo/Bruna Prado)

🐼 A disappointed WWF. The latest draft for new biodiversity targets set to be adopted during the next Biodiversity summit in Kunming, China failed to impress the World Wildlife Fund. The organisation explained to Geneva Solutions what the gaps are.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🇺🇳 A foot in the door. The Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Wednesday paving the way for a potential expert on the human rights implications of climate change, but not without some pushback.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Next on the agenda

📌 21 July | Nature, climate and health leadership for a healthy and green recovery. This event seeks to map out an intergenerational and cross-sectorial response to the climate and biodiversity crises in the lead up to Cop26 and Cop15.


📌 23 July | Annual update on nature-based solutions. One year after launching its Global Standard for NbS, IUCN brings together champions and critics of nature-based solutions to look at the success stories but also barriers encountered.


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