How the WTO Can Help Address Climate Change
Elgar International Economic Law series
16.1 THE INTERACTION OF TRADE AND CLIMATE POLICIES Two of the greatest crises facing the globe are climate change and widespread poverty. Our goal in this book has been to advance the fundamental premise that the international trading regime and efforts to address climate change are not only inextricably linked but that positive synergies can be found between them that will enable achievement of environmental, trade, and development goals. Throughout our analysis of the various ways in which the climate change and international trade regimes interact with each other, we have aimed to present an optimistic view of the connection between international trade and climate change policies by searching for solutions that foster trade liberalization while supporting climate change action and development. The effort to address both crises is critical. As Sir Nicholas Stern noted, we can achieve ‘a safer, cleaner, quieter, more biodiverse world with growing incomes; a world where we can win the other major battle of our century, the fight against world poverty. We either succeed on both, or we fail on both; there is nothing that is stable in between.’1 We began the book by considering the underlying concerns about climate change and international trade. The core problem giving rise to climate change is its public goods nature and the consequent free-riding of individual countries that stand to benefit if others take action but have little incentive to join the international effort and take action themselves. The central concern with international trade is similar – the need...
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