International Energy Governance

International Energy Governance

Selected Legal Issues

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Andrew Filis and Ehab S. Abu Gosh

The legal aspects at the junction of interstate energy cooperation have become increasingly important in a world that is hungry for energy security. This book focuses on selected legal issues relating to international energy governance. International law as it stands today is not well equipped to handle international energy governance issues fully. This legal deficiency affects energy security negatively. If the currently fragmented and multi-layered international energy governance regime were streamlined for greater legal cohesiveness and international political and economic cooperation, it would promote energy security. Some chapters of the book take a broader view on interstate energy cooperation, such as energy transit, energy market liberalization and energy investment. Others focus on specific areas of such cooperation, such as trade and energy; trade, environment and energy; and energy exploration and maritime delimitation disputes. The book also presents an analysis of European Union energy governance and renewable energy.

Chapter 7: Renewable energy in the World Trade Organization

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Andrew Filis and Ehab S. Abu Gosh

Subjects: economics and finance, energy economics, law - academic, energy law, environmental law, international economic law, trade law, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


The argument of Part III of this book is that the use of renewable energy will help towards energy security regionally and climate change mitigation globally. This chapter examines selected legal aspects of the multilateral trade system regarding renewable energy promotion. It argues that the WTO rules are capable of promoting environmental protection objectives. The multilateral trade system aims at the eventual total liberalization of cross-border trade through the removal of as many trade barriers – such as tariffs, quantitative restrictions, and trade-distortive practices – as may be politically acceptable to the economic areas involved. For their part, the governing structures of the economic areas concerned – for the most part, the governments of sovereign states – are faced with the task of addressing a much broader set of interests than those pertaining to trade. However, the accession of sovereign actors and regional economic unions (such as the EU) to international treaty-based organizations (such as the WTO), and their acceptance of the relevant international obligations often commensurately condition their policymaking. In that respect, it is not uncommon for, say, certain measures that WTO members take in order to address some subjective policy objective that is, on the face of it, extraneous to cross-border trade, to infringe upon their international obligations – for instance, such measures may infringe upon obligations owed by WTO members under their WTO membership in a manner that is not in line with WTO rules.

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