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 16: Trade, Climate Protection and Development

Tracey Epps and Andrew Green

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


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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