Steve Charnovitz

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Steve Charnovitz
Charnovitz in 2009.jpg
NationalityUnited States
Alma materYale Law School
Yale College
Kennedy School of Government
Scientific career
FieldsInternational Law
International Trade
InstitutionsGeorge Washington University
George Washington University Law School

Steve Charnovitz (born 1953) is a scholar of public international law, living in the United States. He teaches at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, and is best known for his writings on the linkages between trade and environment and trade and labor rights.[1]


Charnovitz is a native of Savannah, Georgia.

He was an early advocate for improving bicycle transportation in the United States where he worked in the Office of Environmental Affairs of the U.S. Department of Transportation.[2] He was an analyst in the U.S. Department of Labor from 1975 to 1986 in international labor issues. During 1984–1985, he was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the offices of Senator Carl Levin and House Majority Leader Jim Wright. From 1987–1989, he was a legislative assistant to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Jim Wright,[3] and served once again in 1989–1991 for Speaker Tom Foley. In 1991, Charnovitz became Policy Director of the newly established Competitiveness Policy Council.[4] In 1995, he co-founded and directed the Global Environment and Trade Study (GETS) located at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. After several years in private practice at the law firm now known as Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Charnovitz joined the faculty of The George Washington University Law School in 2004.

Charnovitz serves or has served on several editorial boards in scholarly journals including the American Journal of International Law, the Journal of Environment & Development, the Journal of International Economic Law, and the World Trade Review. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is affiliated with the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University. He has been a forceful advocate of free trade combined with pro-competitiveness policies by governments to assist workers who are hurt by economic change and globalization. He was also an early proponent of giving each student an individual computer in the classroom.[5]

He is a member of the American Law Institute.

He received a B.A. degree from Yale College in 1975, an M.P.P. degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1983, and a J.D. degree from the Yale Law School in 1998.


Charnovitz is the author of Trade Law and Global Governance, which was launched in June 1992 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is also the author of over 100 articles in edited volumes and scholarly journals, and the co-editor of Law in Service of Human Dignity. In 2009, he coauthored Global Warming and the World Trading System, published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.[6] (The coauthors are Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Jisun Kim.) In the 1990s and 2000s, he has written extensively on the history of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In 1997, he proposed the thesis that the impact of non-governmental organization on international policymaking was cylical rather than upwardly sloping.[7]

He is known for his neologisms on international policy issues. For example, he coined the term "ecolonomy"[8] to signify that Earth's ecology and economy were two sides of the same coin. He also coined the term "SCOO"[9] as an acronym for the trade sanction in the World Trade Organization called "suspension of concessions or other obligations."


  1. ^ Ideas for the ILO's "Second Century," Charnovitz Interview, Washington Branch Office of the International Labor Organization, ILO Focus, Spring 2001, pp. 4–6.
  2. ^ See U.S. Department of Transportation, Highway and Urban Mass Transportation, September 1974, pp. 24–30 .
  3. ^ See Jim Wright, Balance of Power (Atlanta: Turner Publishing, 1996, p. 443).
  4. ^ See Competitiveness Policy Council A Competitiveness Strategy for America. Second Report to the President and Congress, March 1993, p. 63.
  5. ^ Computerizing the Classroom, Journal of Commerce, August 30, 1994.
  6. ^ See
  7. ^ Steve Charnovitz, "Two Centuries of Participation: NGOs and International Governance," Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 18, Winter 1997, pp. 183, 268–270.
  8. ^ Steve Charnovitz, Living in an Ecolonomy: Environmental Cooperation and the GATT, Pacific Basin Research Center, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1994. The term "ecolonomics" had been invented one year earlier by Dennis Weaver. The field of ecological economics goes back to the 19th century.
  9. ^ "The Dispute Settlement System in the Next Ten Years", p. 921, 927, in Merit Janow, Victoria Donaldson & Alan Yanovich (eds.), The WTO: Governance, Dispute Settlement & Developing Countries (Huntington: Juris Publishing, 2008).

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