Technology and Engineering
  • ISSN: 2333-2581
  • Modern Environmental Science and Engineering

Towards Sustainability in Trade, Energy and Climate


Rafael Leal-Arcas

Queen Mary University of London; Yale Law School, UK


  Abstract: This paper aims at developing effective trade law and policy instruments for sustainable energy and environmental protection with a view to advance current legislation. In the past, trade law has been a very powerful instrument for change in other fields of science. My hypothesis is that trade law can be a tool to help mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable energy. And it is well known that, thanks to trade, countries grow economically. Hence, the triple benefit of trade, which can have a positive economic, environmental and social impact.

  This paper challenges the view that trade’s only impact on the environment is negative. On the contrary, it takes the unconventional view that the trading system goes beyond benefiting the economy and society in that it can also contribute to environmental protection, with a specific focus on decarbonization, which is one of the main challenges humanity faces today. In this sense, my research proposes a paradigm shift in how we approach trade and develops a new theory based on the triple benefit of trade. This papaer incorporates the new trend of bottom-up, rather than top-down, solutions to today’s global challenges. My analysis of trade’s potential for environmental protection will:
 Shift the scientific paradigm that trade’s only impact on the environment is negative by proposing the novel idea of using mega-regional trade agreements (RTAs) to mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable energy;
 Explain that a bottom-up approach to governance can give us many answers to scientific issues by bringing forward the novel idea of how greater participation of citizens can be very promising in helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Such an approach will show the potential of the trading system for moving forward many of the SDGs and is likely to create new opportunities and open new windows for further research.


  Key words: international trade, climate change, energy, sustainability






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