WTO info - Background on WTO and other international...

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1 Background on WTO and other international agreements November 1, 2007
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2 Where we are going (in this set of lectures)? Provide a brief history of international institutions for environmental management Summarize principles on which they are based. Then summarize functions, structure, goals and provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Explain WTO preference for tariffs rather than non-tariff barriers.
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3 Brief history of international governmental environmental activity Stockholm Conference: 1972 UN Conference on Human Environment -- one of early global environmental meetings. Established UN Environmental Program (UNEP) UNEP launched several International Environmental Agreements (IEAs) and has administrative responsibility for 7 of them.
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4 Bruntland Report 1985 UN established World Commission on Environment and Development. Issued report “Our Common Future” (Bruntland Report) in 1987. Emphasized importance of sustainable development: “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Basis for 1992 Rio UN Conference on Environment and Development.
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5 Principles of Environmental Agreements Prevention cheaper than remediation. Precautionary Principle: lack of conclusive scientific evidence does not justify inaction. Subsidiarity: action should be taken at “most local” level practical (local solutions for local problems). Common but differentiated responsibilities: burdens should be different for the rich and the poor.
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6 IEA Principles, continued Openness and transparency. Polluter pays principle (PPP). A specific assignment of property rights. Show that in a closed economy, it makes no difference whether production or consumption is taxed. (See online lecture notes “incidence of a tax). Many examples where polluters are subsidized to prevent pollution (Recent EC ag policy), contrary to PPP. The Coase Theorem shows that in some circumstances the outcome (amount of pollution) does not depend on assignment of property rights; see online lecture notes on Coase Theorem. (Mention controversy over doctrine of “regulatory takings” – a topic later this semester.)
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7 Tools for achieving environmental goals Standards on state of environment (e.g., concentrations of pollutants in air, water) Emissions standards (Important difference between stocks and flows.) Product standards (e.g. no lead in paint) Markets for permits. Taxes (remember that in some cases these “equivalent” to cap-and-trade).
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8 “Trade sensitive” tools to achieve environmental goals Standards on Process and production methods (PPMs) regulate the manner in which products are made (e.g. require use of recycled inputs) in order to regulate environmental impact. The CA bill to prohibit import of electricity produced using carbon-intensive methods is a PPM standard.
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WTO info - Background on WTO and other international...

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