The World Trade Organization's Role in Global Energy Governance

Palgrave Handbook on the International Political Economy of Energy (Thijs Van de Graaf, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Florian Kern, Arunabha Ghosh & Michael T. Klare, eds., 2016), Forthcoming

Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 16-5

33 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2016

See all articles by Timothy Meyer

Timothy Meyer

Vanderbilt University Law School

Date Written: February 4, 2016

Abstract

The World Trade Organization is by many accounts the most successful international organization in history. Yet it has been slow to address head-on the problems in one of the largest sectors of the global economy – energy. Indeed, fuel exports alone constitute roughly 18% of global merchandise exports, the single largest category. Historically, this reluctance to engage with energy can be explained partially by the fact that many major fossil fuel-producing nations were outside of the GATT. Today, however, most such nations are WTO members. While the WTO dispute settlement system has become an active tool for regulating government support of the renewable energy sector, active WTO regulation of the fossil fuel sector remains limited. This chapter, prepared for the Palgrave Handbook on the International Political Economy of Energy, presents an overview of WTO rules and how they apply or might apply to the energy sector. It further argues that this differential treatment between fossil fuels and renewable energy reflects a) the greater number, and the identity, of nations that aspire to be "producers" of renewable energy, and b) the expected growth in renewable energy in years to come.

Keywords: energy, World Trade Organization, WTO, fossil fuels, renewable energy, global governance

JEL Classification: K33, N70

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Timothy, The World Trade Organization's Role in Global Energy Governance (February 4, 2016). Palgrave Handbook on the International Political Economy of Energy (Thijs Van de Graaf, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Florian Kern, Arunabha Ghosh & Michael T. Klare, eds., 2016), Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 16-5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2727977

Timothy Meyer (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-936-8394 (Phone)

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