With the help of biologists and in a radical reversal of roles, the environment could exploit free trade. But with the World Trade Organisation`s legitimacy being challenged as never before, this opportunity is at risk.
"In the prevailing climate, trade protectionism gets equated with environmental protection, free trade with freedom to plunder", says Dr Douglas Yu at the University of East Anglia`s School of Biological Sciences. "But the WTO could actually drive fundamental environmental reform", he says.
In a paper to be published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution in June, Dr Yu and co-authors Prof William Sutherland and Prof Colin Clark challenge biologists to help with the greening of the WTO. "Biologists are notably absent in this debate, but as shown in a high profile legal battle over sea turtles between the US and the WTO, their expertise can be crucial to helping resolve conflicts between trade and the environment", says Dr Yu.
Mary Pallister | alphagalileo
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