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Environmental Border Tax Adjustments and International Trade Law

Fostering Environmental Protection

Alice Pirlot

This timely book brings clarity to the debate on the new legal phenomenon of environmental border tax adjustments. It will help form a better understanding of the role and limits these taxes have on environmental policies in combating global environmental challenges, such as climate change.
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Chapter 2: History and theoretical foundations of environmental BTAs

Fostering Environmental Protection

Alice Pirlot

Extract

In comparison to traditional BTAs, environmental BTAs have had a much more recent history. The analysis of political proposals in favour of environmental BTAs illustrates that they are based on theoretical foundations that differ slightly from traditional BTAs, namely Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage and the theory of absolute advantage. Environmental BTAs’ political history also shows that some steps have already been taken in support of the development of the environmental dimension of BTAs (e.g. the US Superfund tax). This chapter first analyses the economic history of environmental BTAs (Section 1). Second, it discusses their political development (Section 2). Finally, this chapter offers an overview of environmental BTAs’ theoretical foundations (Section 3). Keywords: economic & political history; theoretical foundations; revised theory of comparative advantage; theory of legitimate absolute advantage; US Superfund tax

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