International Investment Agreements and Climate Change: The Potential for Investor-State Conflicts and Possible Strategies for Minimizing It

December 2009
ELR 11147
Lise Johnson

Editors' Summary

Much concern has been raised regarding the possibility that measures governments take to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change will conflict with their obligations under the law of the World Trade Organization. What has not yet received adequate attention, but poses a potentially greater threat of government liability under international law, is the possibility that the climate change-related measures States implement will be inconsistent with their obligations under the roughly 5, international investment agreements (IIAs) to which they are currently party. Although States do likely face exposure to IIA-based claims for their actions on climate change, there are strategies governments can and should pursue to minimize their potential liability.

Lise Johnson is currently a Law Teaching Program Fellow at Columbia Law School.
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