Making Trade Work for Climate Change Mitigation

The Case of Technical Regulations

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International trade and climate change law are two distinct realms that inevitably and increasingly interact with each other. Climate change law instruments - in particular, the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement - constitute the legal framework within which States set emissions reduction targets and adopt climate mitigation measures to achieve the global target of limiting the increase in global average temperatures to “well below” 2°C. This legal framework leaves countries free to decide which measures they employ to achieve their targets. However, international trade law - and, in particular, the rules and principles of the WTO - determines when and how States can adopt a measure that potentially impacts international trade, even if such a measure is primarily aimed at tackling climate change. This publication provides an analysis of the most relevant and most used trade related measures in the context of climate change mitigation strategies, assesses the challenge of increasing their compatibility with international trade law, and discusses the effectiveness, feasibility and equity of these measures, focusing in particular on developing countries.


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