Climate change, sustainability and competition law
A conference with Simon Holmes, Judge at the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal, legal advisor to the environmental NGO ClientEarth, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Competition Law and Policy, University of Oxford.
We face a Climate Emergency in which “business as usual” is not an option and in which a rapid move to more sustainable development is vital. Is competition law a barrier to this? If so, need it be and what can we do about it? This lecture will argue that the fashionable focus on a narrow so-called “consumer welfare” straight jacket is not only not the correct legal approach but is wrong from both an economic and moral perspective. Changes to the law may be desirable but even without that we can use our existing legal and economic tools to (a) minimise the extent to which competition law is a barrier to meeting vital sustainability goals; and (b) contribute positively to them. Climate Change is an existential threat. Competition law must be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
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