Technical regulations based on international standards to mitigate climate change

Briefing paper

All reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time the advice was produced (please refer to the date produced below). However, the materials have been prepared for informational purposes only and may have been superseded by more recent developments. They do not constitute formal legal advice or create a lawyer-client relationship. You should seek legal advice to take account of your own interests. To the extent permitted any liability is excluded. Those consulting the database may wish to contact LRI for clarifications and an updated analysis.

Date produced: 09/09/2020

Achieving the Paris Agreement’s long term temperature goal will require Parties to make rapid, deep and economy-wide GHG emission reductions. One mechanism through which this can be done is domestic technical regulations. These are government imposed technical specifications, processes and other requirements for the manufacture, import, marketing or use of products. Technical regulations in many countries, for example, set mandatory emission standards for vehicles, electrical goods or buildings.

This briefing explores options to foster the development of new regulations at the international level in a fair and equitable manner. First, it examines the legal tension between such regulations and WTO law. It then outlines potential avenues for the international community to promote domestic regulatory interventions and describes the role the Paris Agreement could play in this context.