The WTO, Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Raymond Saner (2024) “The WTO, Climate Change and Sustainable Development” (accepted for publication to be published as IJSD 2024 V27 N3)

The author contributes to the trade & environment debate that so far excluded theoretical concepts such as the principle of mutual supportiveness of international agreements, the insights of public goods theory, and a positive trade & environment agenda.

Based on the inclusion of these new concepts, an enlarged frame of trade, environment, and development is proposed which forms the basis for a reinterpretation of standard WTO articles making a more inclusive approach possible to stop climate change. For instance, the Local Content Requirement is discussed as a means to support citizens of developing countries to generate their renewable energy sources combined with a reinterpretation of Intellectual Property Rights to make the transfer of technology possible of renewable energy in the less developed parts of the world.

The suggested solution is a cross-régime/forum agreement to reduce climate risks by integrating trade into the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs resulting in a reduction of climate warming which is much less costly than the looming future costs and liabilities caused by climate change.