COMPETITION LAW IN A CLIMATE CRISIS: FROM CONSUMER WELFARE TO CITIZEN WELFARE?
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consumer welfare, climate crisis, competition policy, competition law
On the 20th September 2019 millions of people across the globe joined the biggest climate protest in history to demand that urgent action be taken by governments across the world to tackle global warming. It is now time that competition academics, lawyers and policy makers started focusing much more energy on the role that competition law can play in tackling the ‘defining issue of our time.’ Consumer welfare, as narrowly defined by short-term price effects, is not required by the Treaties, but is a policy choice that has become pivotal to competition law enforcement in both Europe and the United States of America. This paper looks at whether a shift in that policy choice to a broader interpretation of what 'consumer welfare' means is appropriate in the context of the current climate crisis and a world that is consuming beyond the sustainable means of the planet.