Argument: Kyoto Protocol conflicts with some international trade agreements

Issue Report: Kyoto Protocol


  • Jinnah, Sikina. Emissions trading under the Kyoto Protocol: NAFTA and WTO concerns. Georgetown International Environmental Law Review. Summer 2003 – “Conflicts may arise between MEAs, such as the Kyoto Protocol, and international trade agreements, such as the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT)/WTO and the NAFTA.4 Member trade obligations under the GATT/ WTO and NAFTA may restrict freedom to participate in the emissions trading system established under the Kyoto Protocol.5 Members to the GATT/WTO and NAFTA are restricted in their ability to place quantitative barriers to trade (such as quotas, sanctions, and taxes) affecting products or services from other member nations. Conflict may emerge because Kyoto Protocol member nations may only account for emission reduction units (ERUs) created in other Kyoto Protocol member nations. Concern arises about the ability of a country that is member both to the GATT/WTO or the NAFTA as well as to the Kyoto Protocol to place trade restrictions on ERUs created in countries that are member to the GATT/ WTO or the NAFTA but not party to the Kyoto Protocol. Neither the GATT/WTO nor the NAFTA have rules governing the mode of dispute resolution under such circumstances, presumably because they have not been pressured to create them.”

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