Chicago Journal of International Law


Renewable energy is an increasingly important topic in today's global world and marketplace. This Comment analyzes the current World Trade Organization plan for addressing renewable energy and proposes an alternate solution to that plan modeled on the Agreement on Agriculture. This Comment notes how, with the present lack of a specific WITO agreement on renewable energy, these subsidies must be treated like all other industrial subsidies, despite their environmental benefits. Current WUTO exceptions for environmentally beneficial programs require relatively pure environmental motives in order to be exempt, and thus do not embrace subsidies with a developmental focus. This Comment specifically addresses how this approach negatively impacts the ability of developing countries in particular to both meet their energy demands and act in an environmentally conscious way, as the current approach requires pure environmental motives without. The proposed renewable energy agreement is modeled on the Agreement on Agriculture, with different levels of permissibility that balance a program's benefit to the environment with its anticompetitive effects.