Queen Mary University of London: Queen Mary launches new Commission with Trade Justice Movement to help solve climate crisis

As Britain recorded its hottest ever temperatures and the High Court ruled the Government’s climate strategy unlawful, the UK waived through its first post-Brexit trade deal with Australia yesterday which is predicted to lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions. With crisis looming, Queen Mary and the Trade Justice Movement have launched a UK Climate and Trade Commission to help solve these growing problems.

The 15-strong team* will bring together respected experts from the United Nations and former senior government officials with environmental groups, businesses and trade unions. They will develop practical proposals for how the UK could better address climate change in the Free Trade Agreements it’s negotiating and make better use of existing trade rule flexibilities, as well as working with likeminded countries to lay the groundwork for lasting change at the World Trade Organization.

Due to release their findings in December 2022, Commissioners will pool their ideas and expertise, drawing on best practice from around world. Their recommendations will come at a critical time, just months before the UK is required to spell out its updated climate plans to Parliament in April 2023.

Liam Campling, Queen Mary’s Associate Dean for Research and Professor of International Business & Development, explained: “Despite strong support from the UK public for action on climate change, there is still woefully little understanding of how trade and investment policies impact climate action. We will not make progress on climate change without bringing trade into line. We are delighted to be working with these 15 exceptional Commissioners to develop proposals that a future UK government could realistically implement to show leadership and vision in this neglected, but critical area.”

Ruth Bergan, Director of the Trade Justice Movement, commented: “We have seen with the UK-Australia trade deal – agreed this week without a vote, or even a debate in Parliament – how vital it is to make sure that trade policy supports rather than undermines action on climate change. Getting this right really matters because trade agreements are binding and enforceable in a way that even the Paris Agreement is not. We’re excited to bring together such a fantastic group of experts to work out what steps the UK can take to develop a truly pro-climate trade policy.”

* The newly appointed UK Climate and Trade Commissioners are:

Faten Aggad, Senior Adviser, African Climate Foundation
James Bacchus, former US Congressman and Chair of the WTO Appellate Body
Jude Kirton Darling, Deputy General Secretary, Industriall
Rob Davies, former Trade Minister of South Africa
Carolyn Deere-Birkbeck, Senior Researcher, Graduate Institute Geneva
James Harrison, Professor, School of Law, University of Warwick
David Henig, Director UK Trade Policy Project, European Centre for International Political Economy
Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of the Globalisation and Development Strategies Division, UNCTAD
Emily Lydgate, Deputy Director, Trade Policy Observatory
Marley Morris, Associate Director for Migration, Trade and Communities, Institute for Public Policy Research
Shaun Spiers, Executive Director, Green Alliance
Tom Thackray, Programme Director Decarbonisation, Confederation of British Industry
Nick von Westenholz, Director of Trade and Business Strategy, National Farmers Union
Kate Young, Senior Public Affairs Officer, Aldersgate Group
Vicente Paulo Yu, Senior Legal Adviser, Third World Network