Generating Renewable Energy for the Material Realization of Sustainable Development: What Do We Need from Multilateral Cooperation, the Climate Change and the International Trade Regimes?

  • Marco CitelliEmail author


This chapter investigates certain aspects of multilateral cooperation in the field of renewable energy as well as the role that renewable energy occupies within the climate change regime and the questions that both the generation of energy from renewable sources and the use of renewable energy related technologies are growingly posing to the agents of global trade. The premise is that production of energy from renewable sources is the key driver for the material realization of sustainable development. Inter State development cooperation can variously impact on the dynamics of the renewable energy sector. Different branches of public international law can also determine trends in this respect. This is why the case of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will be analysed. International rules requiring States to foster the promotion of renewable energy within the climate change regime will then be addressed in light of some results of the Lima Summit (UNFCC-COP20). Finally, certain WTO disputes will be examined in order to identify the limits that international trade law imposes to States in relation to certain specific energy policy choices and to determine if, and to what extent, a space within the WTO system exists in order to accommodate WTO law inconsistent measures however meant to sustain the production of clean energy. The overall goal is to see what is required from international organizations, climate change and trade law to foster the dissemination of renewable energy thereby favouring the material realization of sustainable development.


International law International organization Renewable energy International cooperation Sustainable development 


  1. Brunnée J, Streck C (2013) The UNFCCC as a negotiation forum: towards common but more differentiated responsibilities. Clim Policy 13:589–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Center on Energy, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (2015) CDM projects by type, retrieved July 24 2015 from
  3. De Cendra de Larragán J (2012) The future of international climate change law: a scenario-based perspective. Clim Policy 12:6–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. De Lucia V (2014) Competing narratives and complex genealogies: the ecosystem approach in international environmental law. J Environ Law 27(1):91–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Del Rio P (2007) Encouraging the implementation of small renewable electricity CDM projects: an economic analysis of different options. Renew Sustainable Energy Rev 11:1361–1378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. EU (2009) Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, pp 16–62Google Scholar
  7. Farah P, Cima E (2013) Energy Trade and the WTO: implications for renewable energy and the OPEC cartel. J Int Econ Law 707–740Google Scholar
  8. Ferrey S (2010) The failure of the international global warming regulation to promote needed renewable energy. Environ Affairs 36:67–126Google Scholar
  9. Josling T, Blandford D (2009) Biofuels subsidies and the green box. In: Meléndez-Ortiz R, Bellman C, Hepburn J (eds) Agricultural subsidies in the WTO green box. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  10. JPoI (2002) Johannesburg plan of implementation, in UN report on the world summit on sustainable development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 Aug–4 Sept 2002, A/CONF/199/20, 6–72, Retrieved 24 July 2015, from
  11. Kotzé LJ (2014) Rethinking global environmental law in the anthropocene. J Energy Nat Resour Law 32(2):121–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kulovesi K, Morgera E, Muñoz M (2009) Environmental integration and multifaceted international dimensions of EU Law: unpackaging the EU’s 2009 Climate and Energy Package. Common Mark Law Rev 48:829–891Google Scholar
  13. Low P, Marceau G, Reinaud J (2012) The interface between the trade and climate change regimes: scoping the issues. J World Trade 3:485–544Google Scholar
  14. Lydgate E (2012) Biofuels, sustainability and trade-related regulatory chill. J Int Econ Law 157–180Google Scholar
  15. Marceau G (2010) The WTO in the emerging energy governance debate. Glob Trade Customs J 83–93Google Scholar
  16. Meyer T (2013) Epistemic institutions and epistemic cooperation in international environmental governance. Transnatl Environ Law 15–44Google Scholar
  17. Pallemaerts M (1996) The future of environmental regulation: international environmental law in the age of sustainable development: a critical assessment of the UNCED process. J Law Commer 15:623–676Google Scholar
  18. Piérola F (2013) The question of the benefit. Glob Trade Customs J 293–296Google Scholar
  19. Redgwell C (2008) International legal responses to the challenges of a lower-carbon future: climate change, carbon capture and storage, and biofuels. In: Zillman DN, Redgwell C, Omorogbe Y, Barrera-Hernández LK (eds) Beyond the carbon economy: energy law in transition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 85–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. IRENA (2009) Statute of the international renewable energy agency, Bonn (Germany), 26 Jan 2009, in force 8 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  21. IRENA (2012) Decisions on the work programme and budget for 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2015, from
  22. IRENA (2013) Decisions on the work programme and budget for 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2015, from
  23. IRENA (2015) Global atlas on solar and wind power. Retrieved 24 July 2015, from
  24. Scheer H (2007) Towards a solar proliferation treaty. Leaving the global atomic trap. In: Stockinger H, Van Dyke E (eds) Updating international nuclear law. Intersentia, Salzburg, pp 306–310Google Scholar
  25. Viñuales JE (2013) The rise and fall of sustainable development. Rev Eur Commun Int Environ Law 22:3–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. UNFCCC (2014) Report of the conference of the parties on its twentieth session, held in Lima from 1 to 14 December 2014, “Lima Call For Climate Action”, Decision 1/COP20, FCCC/CP/2014/10/Add.1 of 5 Feb 2015Google Scholar
  27. UN General Assembly (1987) UN GA Resolution 427 (42), 4 Aug 1987, Report of the world commission on environment and development (Brundtland report), “Our Common Future”Google Scholar
  28. UN General Assembly (2012) UN GA Resolution 288 (66), 11 Sept 2012, Report of the UN summit on sustainable development, “The Future We Want”Google Scholar
  29. UNCED (1992) United nations conference on environment and development, the 1992 rio declaration on environment and development, UN Doc. A/Conf.151/5/Rev.1, of 14 June 1992Google Scholar
  30. UNCSD (2007) United nations commission on sustainable development, E/CN.17/2007/15, Decision 9/1 on “Energy for sustainable development”, para. 11, Retrieved 24 July 2015, Scholar
  31. Uperlainen J, Van de Graaf T (2013) The international renewable energy agency, a success story in institutional innovation? Int Environ Agreem Politics Law Econ 1–19Google Scholar
  32. WTO (2012a) WT/DS443/1, G/TRIMS/D/30, G/L/994, European Union and a member state—certain measures concerning the importation of biodiesels, request for consultation of 23 Aug 2012Google Scholar
  33. WTO (2012b) WT/DS412/AB/R, WT/DS412/R, Canada—certain measures affecting the renewable energy generation sector, Canada—measures relating to the feed-in tariff program, reports of the panel of 19 Dec 2012Google Scholar
  34. WTO (2013a) WT/DS426/AB/R, WT/DS426/R, Canada—certain measures affecting the renewable energy generation sector, Canada—Measures relating to the feed-in tariff program, reports of the appellate body of 6 May 2013Google Scholar
  35. WTO (2013b) WT/DS459/1, G/L/1027, G/SCM/D97/1, G/TRIMS/D/36, G/TBT/D/44, European Union and Certain Member States—certain measures on the importation and marketing of biodiesel and measures supporting the biodiesel industry, request for consultation of 23 May 2013Google Scholar
  36. WTO (2014) WT/DS473/1, G/L/1062, G/ADP/D101/1, European Union—anti-dumping measures on biodiesel from Argentina, request of consultation of 8 Jan 2014Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Legal Studies, “A. Staffa”Università Commerciale “L. Bocconi”MilanItaly

Personalised recommendations