Governing Clean Energy Subsidies
What, Why, and How Legal?
by Arunabha Ghosh, Himani Gangania
What kind of clean-energy support measures can be maintained under international trade rules and what cannot? Policy certainty reflected within a clear and coherent trade and energy governance regime is critical for boosting investor confidence and fostering clean energy investments. Ambiguity on clean energy support measures within WTO rules could cast a chilling effect on domestic efforts to scale up sustainable energy. One way of dispelling such ambiguity is through a possible sustainable energy trade agreement (SETA). This paper emphasises the importance of understanding what are the types of clean energy subsidies countries usually provide, why countries provide them, and how they fit into existing legal mechanisms. A SETA, by simultaneously addressing these questions and clarifying existing WTO subsidy rules, would add to the certainty and predictability of a country’s trade and investment climate.
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