Climate change is among the most urgent issues of our generation. Many blame globalisation, but the problem is far more complicated. The majority of greenhouse gases associated with climate change are produced domestically in energy production, heating and cooling, manufacturing, domestic transport, and waste management.
Nevertheless, many greenhouse gases are trade-related and may be subject to WTO rules. Rapid economic development and related growing energy consumption in many parts of the world, as well as an increase in trade-flows are resulting in more carbon emissions worldwide. Likewise, carbon from shipping and air transport is on the rise.
WTO Members are largely free to regulate carbon emissions produced within their territory. They can establish limitations on carbon associated with energy production and manufacturing. They can regulate emissions associated with the use of a product on their territory. They can also regulate emissions due to the transport, preparation or refrigeration of goods on their territory, as well as the disposal of these goods in landfills, co-generation facilities, etc.
The role of the WTO is limited to the trade sphere. WTO rules come into play when a WTO Member seeks to tax the emission of carbon associated with the production, transport, use and disposal of a good in international trade. Trade rules may also be at issue when WTO Members subsidise goods, including energy goods, in international trade to reduce embedded carbon. Likewise, WTO rules may apply to certain mandatory and voluntary regulations, labelling schemes and packaging requirements designed to reduce embedded carbon, or depict its presence.
This course examines the WTO linkages between trade, energy and climate change. In particular, the WTO-legality of carbon taxes, emissions trading, and border measures are addressed. This course also examines recent developments in the WTO to address the triangle of trade, energy and climate change. Development considerations receive attention and constructive solutions will be discussed for the problems highlighted above.
At the end of the course, the participants should be able to:
- Identify the key legal and economic issues arising from the interplay of climate change, trade and energy;
- Discuss the legality under international trade rules of domestic and international trade measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and of measures designed to influence the behavior of trading partners (among others in the biofuels sector);
- Analyze the economic implications for developing countries of WTO rules and MEAs affecting climate change;
- Discuss the framework of multilateral and regional regulation of trade in energy.
Week 1: MODULE I
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRADE AND CLIMATE CHANGE AND INTRODUCTION TO FUNDAMENTAL TRADE LAW ISSUES
- Lesson 1: Political Perspectives on Climate Change: Developed Countries, Developing Countries, Islands and Vulnerable Coastal States
- Lesson 2: Economic Aspects of the Link between Trade and Climate Change
- Lesson 3: Introduction to General WTO Principles (GATT Rules) Related to Climate Change: a)GATT principles and general exceptions (GATT Articles I, II, III, XI and XX)b)Domestically applied measures to promote a climate-friendly domestic environment (Technical regulations and standards) GATT Article III:4 and the TBT Agreement
Week 2: MODULE II
ADVANCED WTO ISSUES ARISING FROM NATIONAL TRADE MEASURES ADDRESSING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS (GHG)
- Lesson 4: Carbon Taxes, Border Tax Adjustments and Emissions Trading
- Lesson 5: Subsidies to Promote Renewable Energy Use versus Countervailing Duties and Anti-Dumping Duties
Week 3: MODULE III
ADVANCED WTO ISSUES CONTINUED; AND THE ROAD AHEAD – TRADE AND CLIMATE WITHIN THE WTO
- Lesson 6: TRIPs (Technology Transfer and Climate Change)
- Lesson 7: The Negotiations: The CTE and CTESS; Environmental Goods and Services Negotiations and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and the WTO
- Lesson 8: Wrap-Up: The Road Ahead Viewed from the Perspective of Different Actors
Week 4: MODULE IV
ENERGY, TRADE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
- Lesson 9: Multilateral and Regional Regulation of Trade in Energy
- Lesson 10: Linking climate change, trade and energy – the case for biofuels
Week 5: WRAP UP
- Course wrap up and conclusion
- Course evaluation questionnaire
In order to ensure the best possible outreach, the course will be delivered through e-learning. Through a multiple-instructional setting, the goal is to achieve the learning objectives by means of learning technologies that match personal learning styles and by the inclusion of non-linear learning that aims at the development of just-in-time skills of adult learners. At the same time, in order to allow participants maximum flexibility of scheduling , the learning will be conducted in an asynchronous manner. Using a state-of-the-art training architecture, UNITAR will combine self-learning with assessments and online discussions. The pedagogy - adapted specifically to professionals in full-time work - will help train participants through various experiences: absorb (read); do (activity); interact (socialize); reflect (relate to one’s own reality).
This course is designed specifically for senior and middle level officials and professionals wishing to deepen their knowledge and understanding of international trade and climate change issues.
A certificate of completion will be issued jointly by UNITAR and WTI to all participants who complete the course-related assignments and assessments successfully.