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World Trade Law and Renewable Energy: : the Case of Non-tariff Measures

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image of Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

Over the last two decades, trade and environment issues have typically been a source of intense controversy and conflict in the world trading system. Renewable energy, however, represents an area where we believe that freer less-distorted trade and environmental protection have the potential to be mutually reinforcing. Historically, electrical energy itself has not been traded across borders, with some exceptions (Canada and the US and in the EU). However, with the de-monopolisation of electricity in an increasing number of jurisdictions, and the unbundling of functions such as generation, grid operation, transmission, and retailing as well as the development of financial instruments such as futures and options contracts for energy, the structure of the entire market is starting to change, complicating the analysis under WTO law. This article aims to raise questions and suggest areas where domestic and international policymakers may need to consider undertaking further analysis.

Affiliations: 1: University of Michigan Law School


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