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The Big Chill: The WTO and Multilateral Environmental Agreements

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  • Robyn Eckersley

Abstract

The increasing scope and disciplinary force of international trading rules have generated concern in the international environmental community concerning how far different types of trade restrictions in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) are compatible with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Environmental Nongovernment Organizations (ENGOs) have argued that the WTO exerts a form of disciplinary neoliberalism that has a 'chilling effect' on both the implementation and negotiation of MEAs. This paper assesses this claim, particularly in the light of the stalled deliberations of the WTO's Committee on Trade and Environment and recent WTO jurisprudence, and concludes that the WTO's trade agreements do serve to limit the scope and operation of MEAs, albeit mostly in subtle rather than direct ways. After exploring a range of options for reform it is concluded that the prospects for greening the WTO from both within and without are by no means bright. Copyright (c) 2004 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Robyn Eckersley, 2004. "The Big Chill: The WTO and Multilateral Environmental Agreements," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 4(2), pages 24-50, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:glenvp:v:4:y:2004:i:2:p:24-50
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Terheggen, Anne, 2010. "The new kid in the forest: the impact of China's resource demand on Gabon's tropical timber value chain," MPRA Paper 37982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Millimet, Daniel L. & Roy, Jayjit, 2015. "Multilateral environmental agreements and the WTO," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 20-23.
    3. Allen, Linda J., 2014. "Trade and Environment: A new Direction for Green Trade," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 15(1).
    4. Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2006. "On the Specification of Propensity Scores: with an Application to the WTO-Environment Debate," Caepr Working Papers 2006-013, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    5. Thomas Gehring & Benjamin Faude, 2014. "A theory of emerging order within institutional complexes: How competition among regulatory international institutions leads to institutional adaptation and division of labor," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 471-498, December.
    6. Joanna I. Lewis, 2014. "The Rise of Renewable Energy Protectionism: Emerging Trade Conflicts and Implications for Low Carbon Development," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 14(4), pages 10-35, November.
    7. repec:spr:ieaple:v:17:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10784-017-9362-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Stefan Borsky & Paul A. Raschky, 2015. "Intergovernmental Interaction in Compliance with an International Environmental Agreement," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 161-203.

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