This chapter briefly explores the key challenges posed by the law of
the World Trade Organization to EU unilateral climate measures.
Drawing on selected examples, it first considers the dynamics of the
trade-climate nexus intrinsic to the Union’s ambitious and
outward-looking climate agenda. It then turns to structural
obstacles contained in relevant substantive obligations under the
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the General
Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). With their focus on creating
equal trading opportunities, these rules often lack recognition for
the objectives of reducing climate externalities and respect for
common but differentiated responsibilities. Faced with a dispute, it
is then likely that the EU would have to justify its measures under
the GATT and GATS general exemptions. Exploring the requirements for
such justification, this chapter reflects upon the ‘fit’ between the
trade-oriented WTO law exemptions and the realities of constructing
complex climate change policy.