Sustainability, Common Concern and Public Goods

78 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2017 Last revised: 6 Oct 2017

Date Written: February 10, 2017


This article analyzes the conceptual links between sustainability, common concern and public goods. It examines the mega-trends of the 21st century in the context of sustainability. By doing so, it brings forward the novel idea of how greater participation of citizens can be very promising in helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The article also examines incentives for regional and global cooperation on decarbonizing the economy. It does so by proposing the novel idea of using mega-regional trade agreements (RTAs) to mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable energy. It proposes the argument that only a few major greenhouse gas emitters and just three mega-RTAs can make a great contribution towards climate change mitigation and the enhancement of sustainable energy. The article then explores sustainability in the context of innovation, research, technology and spirituality. The article concludes with the expression that there is a knowledge gap on the links between four major global concerns: trade, energy, climate change, and sustainability. With the threat of climate change looming, and energy increasingly important to all aspects of human and economic development, learning more about these links is extremely timely.

Keywords: sustainable development, international trade, climate change, sustainable energy, citizens’ empowerment, public goods, common concern, sustainable companies

JEL Classification: Q01, Q56, K33, Q4, Q5

Suggested Citation

Leal-Arcas, Rafael, Sustainability, Common Concern and Public Goods (February 10, 2017). The George Washington International Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 801-877, 2017, Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 253/2017, Available at SSRN:

Rafael Leal-Arcas (Contact Author)

Alfaisal University ( email )

P.O. Box 50927
Riyadh, 11533
Saudi Arabia

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