Future trade wars will be about green technology

Future trade wars will be about green technology

French firm Engie was poised to sign a $7 billion, 20-year contract to buy US liquefied natural gas but last month got a call from the French government who told them the deal was off because US gas was too dirty, according to the French press.

The French government, which is a part owner of Engie, stepped in to tell Engie's board of directors to delay, if not outright cancel, any deal because of concerns that U.S. natural gas producers emit too much methane.

This is a preview of what's to come. The reality is that it's been going on for years, starting with Obama's decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline on environmental concerns while he was encouraging the US shale boom and building thousands of miles of pipelines domestically.

The reality is that environmental laws are going to be another way for countries to throw up trade barriers and protect domestic interests.

If you combine this with the other Trump-era tactics like claiming national security interests, tearing up trade agreements or jamming the WTO panels, then you have a recipe for a continued long-term disintegration in the global trade order.