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Global Environmental Policy and Global Trade Policy

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  • Frankel, Jeffrey

    (Harvard U)

Abstract

The global climate regime, as represented by the Kyoto Protocol, may be on a collision course with the global trade policy regime, as represented by the WTO (World Trade Organization). Environmentalists fear that international trade will undercut reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as dirty production migrates to non-participating countries, a phenomenon known as leakage. Meanwhile businesspeople fear the effects on their own competitiveness of the same phenomenon. These fears have now become prominent in the policy-making process. In early 2008, legislation to enact long-term targets for reduced emission of greenhouse gases included provisions for possible barriers against imports from countries perceived as non-participating--in both Washington, DC (where the bills have not yet passed) and in Brussels (where the EU Commission Directive has gone into effect). Such provisions could be interpreted as violations of the rules of the WTO, which poses the nightmare scenario of a WTO panel rejecting a major country's climate change legislation. In light of the hostile feelings that such a scenario would unleash, it would be a nightmare for the supporters of the WTO and free trade as much as for the supporters of the Kyoto Protocol and environmental protection. The issue is just the latest and largest instance of fears among many environmentalists that the WTO is an obstacle to their goals in general. The issue transcends institutions. For the critics, the WTO is a symbol of globalization, and their fears attach also to that larger phenomenon. The first part of this paper discusses the broader issue of whether environmental goals in general are threatened by free trade and the WTO. The second half of the paper focuses exclusively on the narrower question of trade aspects of nations' efforts to implement climate change policy and whether they are likely to come into conflict with the WTO.

Suggested Citation

  • Frankel, Jeffrey, 2008. "Global Environmental Policy and Global Trade Policy," Working Paper Series rwp08-058, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-058
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:76:y:2018:i:c:p:120-129 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bölük, Gülden & Mert, Mehmet, 2014. "Fossil & renewable energy consumption, GHGs (greenhouse gases) and economic growth: Evidence from a panel of EU (European Union) countries," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 439-446.
    3. Brennan, Timothy J., 2009. "The Challenges of Climate for Energy Markets," Discussion Papers dp-09-32, Resources For the Future.
    4. Shahbaz, Muhammad & Nasreen, Samia & Ahmed, Khalid & Hammoudeh, Shawkat, 2017. "Trade openness–carbon emissions nexus: The importance of turning points of trade openness for country panels," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 221-232.
    5. Mehdi Abbas, 2013. "Libre-échange et changements climatiques : " soutien mutuel " ou divergence ?," Post-Print halshs-00844818, HAL.
    6. Ghosh, Madanmohan & Luo, Deming & Siddiqui, Muhammad Shahid & Zhu, Yunfa, 2012. "Border tax adjustments in the climate policy context: CO2 versus broad-based GHG emission targeting," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages 154-167.
    7. Mona Haddad & Ben Shepherd, 2011. "Managing Openness : Trade and Outward-oriented Growth After the Crisis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2283, September.
    8. repec:bla:pacecr:v:22:y:2017:i:3:p:435-479 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Timothy J. Brennan, 2010. "The Challenges of Climate Policy," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 43(3), pages 225-239.

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