Ecology Law Currents is the online-only publication of Ecology Law Quarterly, one of the nation's most respected and widely read environmental law journals. Currents features short-form commentary and analysis on timely environmental law and policy issues.


To be notified when the latest Currents articles are published, subscribe to the Currents list serve by emailing here.


Ecology Law Currents accepts submissions on an ongoing basis. For more information, see our guidelines.

« Student Review of Selected Panels at the Berkeley Law 2010 Environmental Justice Symposium | Main | Implementing SB 375: Promises and Pitfalls »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

In response to the previous commentator, I wonder to what extent policies that encourage domestic manufacture of clean energy technology--an industry we are largely dependent on other countries to drive--would run up against GATT provisions. I suppose the same health-related Article XX sections that apply to the products the author discusses would apply to the transfer of clean energy equipment. But since the promotion of a domestic clean energy manufacturing industry would likely have protectionist motivations, would it have a harder time passing WTO muster--despite the fact that it would share the public health-preserving intent of the Article XX exceptions themselves?

ACESA was a recipe for disaster, not just for world trading implications but from a domestic point of view as well. The Waxman-Markey bill would have created a vast market in the hands of the same people (bankers) that got us into the economic mess that we are currently in. It is better, both domestically and abroad, that the bill did not pass. The EPA analyzed the bill last summer during the heat of the debate and found that coal (the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions) would continue to expand for several decades under the bill, that the emission reductions would be essentially non-binding, that the global recession is likely to drive an oversupply of emissions permits, and that the bill would not significantly stimulate clean energy development or investment beyond a business-as-usual scenario. This bill was a disaster to start with and it is better that it failed. It is clear that Congress does not have an appetite for addressing climate change. Thus we should look for innovative ways to stimulate manufacturing of clean energy alternatives here through strong renewable energy standards for both small and large scale development in the US and we should use the EPA's existing authority to reduce emissions as the public nuisance that they are!

ACESA represents a positive step by the U.S. to curb carbon emissions on a global scale. However, the trade implications of the act do seem to discriminate against developing countries. It is an interesting and and reoccurring issue in our efforts to balance development and sustainability. For environmental concerns, being able to prevent "leakage" would benefit our environment by reducing carbon emissions globally. However, this raises the issue of equity between developed and developing countries. While it is understandable that developed countries are concerned about jobs being lost to foreign countries with less stringent or less stringently enforced emissions rules, it is also disturbing that developing countries would have to adhere to emission standards developed countries never had to face during their growth. I believe the WTO is a good forum for addressing these concerns.

The comments to this entry are closed.