The study, published Thursday by the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development, found that countries with more stringent environmental policies remain competitive compared to more polluting nations.
High-polluting or energy-intensive industries like chemical, plastic, and steel manufacturers only suffer a “small” disadvantage in their exports, the study says. But that disadvantage is offset by growth in less-polluting activities. This finding is significant in the wake of the Paris Agreement. One big concern for developing countries is that adhering to strict environmental standards could hamper their growth. But that’s not so, the study says, and notes that emerging economies with strong manufacturing sectors like China or India could strengthen environmental laws without denting their export markets.
Kimberly Elliot, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, said OECD findings are consistent with past studies. That’s because “in general companies and firms are able to adapt,” Elliot told ThinkProgress.