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Green subsidies and the WTO


  • Charnovitz, Steve


This paper provides a detailed explanation how the law of the World Trade Organization regulates environmental subsidies with a focus on renewable energy subsidies. The paper begins by discussing the economic justifications for such subsidies and the criticisms of them and then gives examples of categories of subsidies. The paper provides an overview of the relevant World Trade Organization rules and case law, including the recent Canada-Renewable Energy case. The paper also makes specific recommendations for how World Trade Organization law can be improved and discusses the literature on reform proposals. The study finds that because of a lack of clarity in World Trade Organizaion rules, for some clean energy subsidies, a government will not know in advance whether the subsidy is World Trade Organization-legal.

Suggested Citation

  • Charnovitz, Steve, 2014. "Green subsidies and the WTO," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7060, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7060

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paolo D. Farah & Elena Cima, 2013. "Energy Trade and the WTO: Implications for Renewable Energy and the OPEC Cartel," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 707-740, September.
    2. Luca Rubini, 2012. "Ain't Wastin' Time No More: Subsidies for Renewable Energy, The SCM Agreement, Policy Space, and Law Reform," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 525-579, June.
    3. Bradly J. Condon, 2009. "Climate Change and Unresolved Issues in WTO Law," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 895-926, December.
    4. Annamaria La Chimia & Sue Arrowsmith, 2009. "Addressing Tied Aid: Towards a More Development-Oriented WTO?," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 707-747, September.
    5. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Cathleen Cimino & Martin Vieiro & Erika Wada, 2013. "Local Content Requirements: A Global Problem," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6802, September.
    6. World Bank, 2012. "Inclusive Green Growth : The Pathway to Sustainable Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6058, July.
    7. Peter Carroll & Aynsley Kellow, 2011. "The OECD," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 4266, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fischer, Carolyn & Greaker, Mads & Rosendahl, Knut Einar, 2017. "Robust technology policy against emission leakage: The case of upstream subsidies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 44-61.

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    Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Taxation&Subsidies; Emerging Markets; Trade Law;
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