Greening the World Trade Organization
by Raymond Saner
Environmental and Climate Change Economics
The research programme on “Climate Change and Sustainable Development” addresses the two inter-related issues of climate change and sustainable development and a corollary of key topics in the field of environmental economics. The programme builds upon over twenty years of successful FEEM research in the field. In the specific area of climate change, FEEM has achieved a leading position in the international research community, as a result of the in-house development and application of several methodologies for the economic analysis of climate and energy policies. FEEM models address world-wide vulnerability to changes in climatic conditions, and investigate the economics of mitigation and adaptation to these changes. In the specific area of sustainable development, FEEM research covers a variety of issues: sustainable management of natural resources, the economics of natural hazards and extreme events, and the use of indicators to measure sustainability and growth beyond GDP. FEEM can also rely on a strong research team of applied economists who investigate the economic performance of various environmental and climate policy instruments. The twofold goal of this research programme is to contribute to science while guiding policies and informing the public debate.
Even though the COP21 meeting in Paris concluded on a positive note, the implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures remains based on non-binding proposals and promises made by the countries who took part in COP21. In addition, the solutions discussed so far are based on the assumption and hope that new technologies will be developed that can help generate the needed abatement of Green House Gases (GHG) and that such new technology could be developed, sold and used based on “business as usual” in regard to protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs). This publication proposes instead an alternative way to halt climate warming. The author suggests that the treaty power of the WTO could be used to create the incentive system needed to transform “business as usual- IPR” to a “green oriented trade and development system” turning green high technology into a common resource that could give low-income developing countries access to green high technology goods and services which would enable them to contribute to the effort of stopping global warming at a global level. Finally, this publication proposes three green agreements within the WTO agreement framework that could generate the green investments and green production needed to successfully implement climate change mitigation and adaptation at global level and in the public interest.
ISBN Number 9788894170108
FEEM Press, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Series, 2/2016