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Interplay between Climate and Trade Policies

  • Harro van Asselt
  • Fariborz Zelli
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 40-44
Publication/Series: Seminar
Issue: 606
Document type: Journal article

Abstract english

INTERNATIONAL trade has become one of the pillars of the global economic system; an overlap between climate change policies and the multi-lateral trading system administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) therefore seems inevitable. International trade affects climate change as it potentially increases economic activity that may in turn lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Conversely, taking measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions might adversely affect competitiveness and hence reduce countries’ willingness to participate in such measures.1 The WTO Committee on Trade and Environment has only dealt with the interactions between climate change and international trade in a limited manner within the Doha mandate on trade and environment. At the same time, climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have paid very little attention to the relationship of the climate regime to WTO norms. Still, there are a number of important overlaps, which are outlined here.

The Kyoto Protocol establishes three flexibility mechanisms which allow developed countries to comply cost-effectively with their emission limitation and reduction objectives outside their borders: (i) the Clean Development Mechanism, (ii) Joint Implementation, and (iii) International Emissions Trading. These flexibility mechanisms raise several trade issues which have so far largely remained unresolved.


  • Political Science
  • WTO
  • Interplay
  • trade
  • climate change
  • Kyoto
  • institutional analysis


  • Miljöpolitik-lup-obsolete
Fariborz Zelli
E-mail: fariborz [dot] zelli [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Department of Political Science

+46 46 222 47 64



Associate professor

Department of Political Science



Fariborz is director of the NAVIGOV project. He received the outstanding Ph.D. thesis award of the University of Tübingen and the award for outstanding teaching performance of the German state of Baden-Württemberg.

Ongoing research projects

Department of Political Science
Lund University
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5H (House: Eden)
Postal address: Box 52, SE-221 00 LUND
Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences