Climate Change and International Trade

Climate Change and International Trade

Rafael Leal-Arcas

Rafael Leal-Arcas expertly examines the interface of climate change mitigation and international trade law with a view to addressing the question: How can we make best use of the international trading system experience to aim at a global climate change agreement?

Chapter 5: Analyzing the Kyoto Protocol

Rafael Leal-Arcas

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, international economic law, trade law


This chapter provides a legal analysis of one of the key legal instruments to combat climate change, namely the Kyoto Protocol. It is separate from the previous chapter on the chronological evolution of the major COPs because it provides a deep legal analysis of the outcome of COP-3 in Kyoto. The Kyoto Protocol addresses the issue of climate change. However, the legal document by no means reflects a global understanding on how to handle the issue of global warming. In fact, the lack of understanding amongst the various nations of the world has reached a point where environmental policy-makers see a number of possible scenarios to global warming: (1) making amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, by changing the current targets and timetable into a long-term view of global warming; (2) leaving the agreement unratified, given that the U.S. does not agree with the Kyoto Protocol; and (3) finding a middle ground between the two previous possibilities, which would be the creation of a new mechanism where nations meet in international environmental fora and voluntarily exchange views with no legal commitments.

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