Chapter 1: Introduction
Emissions trading schemes are a type of economic legal framework designed to address the global environmental crisis of climate change. Broadly speaking these frameworks are intended to place limits on the entities that release greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and enable them to achieve an efficient outcome through trade. The subject matter in this book addresses the question of the broader impacts of these frameworks. In particular, analysis of the convergence between emissions trading schemes and the World Trade Organization (WTO) law is presented in the pages that follow. The achievement of a sustainable balance between the concepts of trade liberalisation, economic growth and environmental protection represents an ongoing and dynamic challenge for legislators and policymakers. This is particularly so where the legal instruments designed specifically to achieve one of these objectives impact in their practical application on the objectives of another. This is one of the difficulties associated with legislation that establishes emissions trading schemes. The objective of this book is to examine the global trade issues that arise as a result of the introduction of emissions trading frameworks. This is done with a specific focus on the rules of the WTO. In this regard, the WTO law is used in this book as a tool to demonstrate where the boundaries exist for acceptable interference with international trade. Indeed, using the WTO law as a guide enables an understanding of the broader impacts of the emissions trading frameworks examined here.