Table of Contents

Handbook on Trade and the Environment

Handbook on Trade and the Environment

Elgar original reference

Edited by Kevin P. Gallagher

In this comprehensive reference work, Kevin Gallagher has compiled a fresh and broad-ranging collection of expert voices commenting on the interdisciplinary field of trade and the environment. For over two decades policymakers and scholars have been struggling to understand the relationship between international trade in a globalizing world and its effects on the natural environment. The authors in this Handbook provide the tools to do just that.

Chapter 27: Redesigning the World’s Trading System for Environmentally Sustainable Development

Alejandro Nadal

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, international economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, international economic law, trade law, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy, international politics


Alejandro Nadal 1 Introduction In a relatively short period of time, human activity has brought the world to the brink of a major ecological disaster. One manifestation of this is a massive biotic crisis (Eldredge, 1998; Myers and Knoll, 2001; Wilson, 1993). The other is the anthropogenic impact on global average temperatures, with effects on rising oceans, disruption of rainfall patterns, and extreme climate variability (Houghton et al., 2001; McCarthy et al., 2001). At the same time, social disparities and inequality mark the world’s social and economic landscape, at both the national and international levels (UNFPA, 2002; GPM, 2004). Economic performance in the past 30 years was marked by slower growth rates for higher- and middle-income countries, and modest growth rates for lower-income economies. Also, the ecological footprint of the richest countries is still unduly heavy. Although greenhouse gas emissions rates have been going down, absolute levels of emissions continue to increase. The absolute volume of natural resources used by developed countries continues to increase and material flows’ analyses reveal the presence of environmental cost-shifting.2 The structure of world trade provides a sobering backdrop for the assessment of WTO performance. Although developing countries’ exports have increased, world trade remains heavily lopsided. Average trade deficits for all developing countries during the 1990s were higher than those in the 1970s by three percentage points of GDP while growth rates were lower by two percentage points (UNCTAD, 2003). This has serious negative implications for developing countries’ current accounts and indebtedness, consolidating...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information