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Domestics Climate Change Policies And The Wto

  • Lucas Assuncao
  • ZhongXiang Zhang

The Kyoto Protocol sets reduction targets to greenhouse gas emission levels in developed countries, including OECD and East European countries (the so-called Annex 1 Parties to the Climate Change Convention). The Kyoto Protocol gives Annex 1 countries considerable flexibility in the choice of domestic policies to meet their emissions commitments. Possible climate policies include carbon/energy taxes, subsidies, energy efficiency standards, eco-labels, and government procurement policies. In order to meet their Kyoto targets with minimum adverse effects on their economies, Annex 1 Party governments with differentiated legal and political systems are highly likely to pursue climate policies that may have the potential to bring them into conflict with their WTO obligations. This paper explores the potential interaction between these domestic climate policies and WTO rules. It argues that their potential conflicts can be avoided or at least minimized if WTO rules are carefully scrutinized, and efforts are made early on to ensure that the proposed climate policies comply with them. It suggests an early process of pursuing consultations between WTO members and the Parties to the Climate Change Convention and points to the need to further explore ways to enhance synergies between the trade and climate regimes.

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Paper provided by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in its series UNCTAD Discussion Papers with number 164.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:unc:dispap:164
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  1. Jackson, J.H., 1992. "World Trade Rules and Environmental Policies: Congruence or Conflict?," Working Papers 317, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Peter Hoeller & Jonathan Coppel, 1992. "Energy Taxation and Price Distortions in Fossil Fuel Markets: Some Implications for Climate Change Policy," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 110, OECD Publishing.
  3. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," NBER Working Papers 3914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Adam B. Jaffe et al., 1995. "Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 132-163, March.
  6. Baranzini, Andrea & Goldemberg, Jose & Speck, Stefan, 2000. "A future for carbon taxes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 395-412, March.
  7. James Poterba & Julio Rotemberg, 1995. "Environmental taxes on intermediate and final goods when both can be imported," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 221-228, August.
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