Trade Proposals for Climate Action
Trade, Law and Development, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 11-54, 2014
46 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2014 Last revised: 20 Dec 2014
Date Written: March 27, 2014
This paper examines various mechanisms through which international trade can address climate change mitigation. It proposes the introduction of a regional model for promoting climate change mitigation, technology transfer and sustainable energy for all via the vast, ever-expanding network of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) across the globe. These PTAs present a more efficient vehicle by which to promote environmental protection than the multilateral trading platform. The paper also explores the potential of more cohesive energy governance in promoting sustainable energy and discusses the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) role in supporting renewable energy. It discusses the impact of subsidies on different forms of energy and whether feed-in tariffs count as subsidies in the WTO context. The role of emissions trading schemes (ETS) is also examined, with particular focus on the European Union’s ETS and its expansion to the aviation sector. Another area where trade can feed into climate change mitigation efforts is eco-labelling. Lastly, the paper focuses on the need to invest in innovative solutions and take creative approaches to environmental protection. It emphasizes the need for a flexible approach on the part of both the trade and climate change regimes, and the need to work together more closely.
Keywords: climate change mitigation; preferential trade agreements; energy trade; renewable energy; green energy governance; renewable subsidies; GATT Article XX; Emissions Trading Scheme; eco-labelling; global carbon market
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