I'll be blogging more in the coming days about the exciting possibilities opened up by Roberto Azevedo's ascent to the leadership of the WTO. This doesn't mean that I have forgotten the procedural corruption that led to the elimination of the African candidates in the first round. Azevedo saved the WTO from a disastrous failure of legitimacy because, quite bluntly, he ran a clean, honest, respectful campaign-no one can pin on him the process irregularities (Jonathan Fried may have a lot to answer for) or other strong-arm tactics. Unlike Blanco, Azevedo did not benefit from stories planted in the press(as Bob Dylan would have it) against his opponent. Selecting a clean man was the only way of getting an acceptable result from an originally unclean process.
Among the best guides to Azevedo's views is the ICTSD e-book collection of questions and answers of DG candidates. One of Azevedo's responses there on climate change will be of interest to WTO lawyers. Azevedo suggests that evolutionary interpretation of WTO law may well be able to address the climate challenge, citing the Shrimp/Turtle case. Compare this to the atavistic approach of Pascal Lamy in a 2008 speech on climate and trade, where he lectured the audience that well, after all, Shrimp/Turtle is only about shrimps and turtles! (and he went on to misread the case anyhow, suggesting that it stood for a self-standing requirement to negotiate as a precondition to unilateral measures, which the AB made clear in its 21.5 ruling was not the case, and even clearer in US-Gambling, when interpreting the GATS equivalent of Article XX).
To link up with Simon's last post, one might ask whether the approach by the AB to "benefit" in the Canada-Renewable Energy case is the kind of evolutionary interpretation that Azevedo had in mind when talking to ICTSD about climate.