The World Trade Organization and Climate Change
The interface of trade and environment in the global arena in a multilateral setting is characterized by both trade regimes and environmental regimes, under several international agreements devised over the past few decades. International trade policies are largely governed by the WTO. The global environmental policies are governed by various Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), especially by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). There is some compatibility between the two regimes in their provisions of policies. Lack of compatibility of trade provisions (specific trade obligations, STOs) specified under MEAs with the trade policies under the WTO framework is often complicated by the fact that signatories of MEAs vary substantially from one agreement to another within the large set of MEAs, and also differ from the list of 153-member countries of the WTO. Since the WTO regime has a predominant role in devising various international trade policies and has the most well-equipped dispute settlement mechanism relative to any other trade or environmental regime, and since much of the world trade tends to follow the WTO trade stipulations, it is important to examine relevant aspects of trade and environment/CC interface under the WTO charter.