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New Center for Climate and Trade will Advance Global Climate Policy Solutions

Charlene Barshefsky, James Connaughton, and Jennifer Hillman will serve as co-chairs

WASHINGTON, DC – The Climate Leadership Council announced a new Center for Climate and Trade to advance global policy solutions that leverage trade relationships and the market economy towards greater international cooperation and climate progress, including border carbon adjustments. 

“To support a global response to climate change, we must explore policies that target the 25 percent of global emissions embedded in internationally traded goods,” said Greg Bertelsen, CEO of the Climate Leadership Council. “The upside in the climate and trade policy arena for the U.S. economy, our workers, and environment are immense. The Center for Climate and Trade will explore and advance policies that leverage domestic emissions reductions to reward lower-emitting production, enhance U.S. competitiveness, promote international cooperation, and encourage other large emitting nations to do their part.”

Lawmakers in major economies like the E.U., Canada, Japan, U.K., and U.S. are exploring climate and trade policy tools that support domestic climate ambition, reward more carbon-efficient manufacturing, and encourage greater emission reductions from their trading partners. This new arena presents numerous potential environmental, economic, and geopolitical benefits. Unlocking them requires new research, better data, and collaborative thought leadership from a variety of disciplines.

The Center will convene leading experts from government, academia, industry, and other fields to explore the benefits and opportunities at the climate-trade nexus.

Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, former U.S. trade representative for President Clinton; James Connaughton, former chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality for President George W. Bush; and Jennifer Hillman, former commissioner at the United States International Trade Commission and former member of the World Trade Organization Appellate Body, will lead the Center as bipartisan co-chairs.

Catrina Rorke, senior vice president at the Climate Leadership Council, will serve as executive director of the Center.

George David Banks, a top policy advisor to Presidents Trump and George W. Bush, and in Congress, the intelligence community, and the foreign service, will serve as chief policy advisor, facilitating the Center’s collaboration and research with outside advisors and policy contributors.

Maureen Hinman, co-founder and chair of Silverado Policy Accelerator; Sarah Stewart, executive director of Silverado Policy Accelerator; Nigel Purvis, CEO of Climate Advisers; and Michael Mehling, deputy director of the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, will serve as policy advisors, providing recommendations on key policy areas and conducting original research and analysis for the Center.

“If we are going to adequately respond to the threat of climate change, we need to create new trade policies and agreements that encourage ever lower emissions in globally-traded goods,” Ambassador Barshefsky said. “We look forward to exploring and advancing climate and trade policies that motivate greater climate ambition, international cooperation, and technological innovation.”

“Confronting climate change and the scourge of unhealthy air pollution is a moral imperative not only for the U.S., but for all nations,” said James Connaughton. “An unaccountable international process is not producing sensible, affordable, and lasting solutions. The United States is uniquely positioned to harness the world’s most powerful innovation and export engine and partner with truly committed allies to drive verifiable emissions reductions through free and fair trade in clean and sustainable technologies and services.”

“Trade tools can be a powerful weapon to combat global greenhouse gas emissions,” Jennifer Hillman said. “The Center for Climate and Trade will provide a platform to identify solutions that put American companies on a level playing field with their overseas competitors and ensure that the tools of international trade enable more ambitious climate action.” 

To learn more, visit the Center’s website here.


The Climate Leadership Council works with a broad set of stakeholders to promote the most cost-effective, equitable and politically-viable climate solutions.

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