Reconciling Trade and Climate

Reconciling Trade and Climate

How the WTO Can Help Address Climate Change

Elgar International Economic Law series

Tracey Epps and Andrew Green

This timely book addresses the interaction between policies addressing climate change and the rules of the WTO. The authors expertly examine the law and economics behind the application of trade rules in the area of climate, including the implications of WTO rules for domestic climate measures, the unilateral use of trade measures to attempt to force other countries to take climate action, and the role of trade measures in multilateral climate agreements. The book argues that while there is a possibility of conflict between international trade rules and progress on climate change, it need not be the case. Thus the major focus is on the ways in which trade measures can aid in addressing climate change.

Chapter 2: Climate Change, Trade and International Agreements

Tracey Epps and Andrew Green

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


CLIMATE CHANGE AS AN ADDITIVE PUBLIC GOOD Climate change is occurring. In its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) adopted a very strong statement concerning the existence and cause of climate change. It stated that ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.’1 These findings have since been confirmed and extended by further studies, including updated observations of recent changes in climate, better attribution of observed climate change to human and natural causal factors, improved understanding of carbon-cycle feedbacks, and new projections of future changes in extreme weather events and the potential for catastrophic climate change.2 The increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the industrial era is unprecedented in more than 10 000 years. The global average atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased enormously since the beginning of the Industrial 1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers (Fourth Assessment Report, available online at: 2 The World Development Report 2010 cites H.M. Füssel, ‘The Risks of Climate Change: A Synthesis of New Scientific Knowledge Since the Finalization of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report’, Background note for the WDR 2010, and V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng, ‘On Avoiding Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference with the Climate System: Formidable Challenges Ahead’ (2008) 105(38) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 14245–50....

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