Free trade, globalisation, the environment and sustainability: Major issues and the position of WTO

Tisdell, Clem (2000). Free trade, globalisation, the environment and sustainability: Major issues and the position of WTO. Working Papers on Economics, Ecology and Environment 39, School of Economics, University of Queensland.

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Author Tisdell, Clem
Title Free trade, globalisation, the environment and sustainability: Major issues and the position of WTO
School, Department or Centre School of Economics
Institution University of Queensland
Open Access Status Other
Series Working Papers on Economics, Ecology and Environment
Report Number 39
Publication date 2000-03-01
Language eng
Subject 1402 Applied Economics
0501 Ecological Applications
Abstract/Summary Economic globalisation is seen by many as a driving force for global economic growth. This it may well be. However, opinion is divided about the benefits of this process as highlighted by the WTO meeting in Seattle in late 1999. Proponents of economic globalisation see it as a positive force for environmental improvement and, as a major factor increasing the likelihood of sustainable development through its likely boost to global investment. These proponents mostly appeal to analysis based on the Kuznets environmental curves to support their views about environmental improvement. This analysis however has significant deficiencies. In relation to their optimism that the process of economic globalisation supports sustainable development, this only holds if weak conditions need to be satisfied. Some economists argue that strong conditions may need to be satisfied to achieve sustainable development. It is highly likely that these will be violated by the economic globalisation process. Therefore, the economic growth stimulated by economic globalisation may result in or promote unsustainable development. Global political action may be needed to avert a deterioration in the global environment and to prevent unsustainability of development. This exposition outlines the Kuznets environmental curve style of analysis, demonstrates it limitations, identifies possible positive and negative effects of economic globalisation on pollution levels and highlights connections between globalisation and the debate about whether strong or weak conditions are required for sustainable development. The types of analysis which might be used by China to estimate the environmental impacts of its entry to WTO are briefly outlined. The article concludes with a short discussion of the position of WTO in relation to trade and the environment and the de facto endorsement of WTO of weak conditions for sustainable development.
Keyword World Trade Organisation
free trade
environmental sustainability

Document type: Working Paper
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Created: Thu, 27 May 2010, 13:05:25 EST by Mrs Jennifer Creese on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service