International Energy Governance
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International Energy Governance

Selected Legal Issues

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Andrew Filis and Ehab S. Abu Gosh

The legal aspects at the junction of interstate energy cooperation have become increasingly important in a world that is hungry for energy security. This book focuses on selected legal issues relating to international energy governance. International law as it stands today is not well equipped to handle international energy governance issues fully. This legal deficiency affects energy security negatively. If the currently fragmented and multi-layered international energy governance regime were streamlined for greater legal cohesiveness and international political and economic cooperation, it would promote energy security. Some chapters of the book take a broader view on interstate energy cooperation, such as energy transit, energy market liberalization and energy investment. Others focus on specific areas of such cooperation, such as trade and energy; trade, environment and energy; and energy exploration and maritime delimitation disputes. The book also presents an analysis of European Union energy governance and renewable energy.
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Chapter 3: Trade, environment, and energy: implications for the conservation of oil resources

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Andrew Filis and Ehab S. Abu Gosh


The environmental significance of natural resources was explicitly recognized in the multilateral trade agreements with the establishment of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947.The GATT contained the general exception in its Article XX(g) justifying measures which, although deemed to be in violation of the GATT rules, aimed at conserving ‘exhaustible natural resources’. Since the creation of the GATT 1947, this exception has remained a central one, and still is in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO), created in 1995. The tension between trade and environment, including issues of exhaustible natural resources, has comprised an essential controversy within several important GATT and WTO decisions. Importantly, neither the GATT nor the WTO agreements have defined the exact meaning and scope of the phrase ‘exhaustible natural resources’. Various decisions were held pertinent to the protection of exhaustible natural resources, where different forms of natural resources were involved and a variety of interpretations and analytical approaches were utilized.

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