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Environmental LawText, Cases & Materials

Environmental Law: Text, Cases & Materials (2nd edn)

Elizabeth Fisher, Bettina Lange, and Eloise Scotford
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date: 05 December 2023

p. 222. Understanding Environmental Problemslocked

p. 222. Understanding Environmental Problemslocked

  • Elizabeth Fisher, Elizabeth FisherProfessor of Environmental Law, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
  • Bettina LangeBettina LangeAssociate Professor of Law and Regulation, University of Oxford
  •  and Eloise ScotfordEloise ScotfordProfessor of Environmental Law, UCL


This chapter is an introduction to environmental problems specifically written for those studying environmental law. Understanding environmental problems is not just of passing academic interest, but is, rather, essential for understanding environmental law. A good environmental lawyer has a sophisticated appreciation of environmental problems and understands in particular how their nature impacts on environmental law and practice. The extracts in the chapter are thus not just optional background reading but are essential for understanding the subject. This chapter covers the collective nature of environmental problems, the role and limits of knowledge in identifying and addressing environmental problems, the nature of environmental values and the important but contentious role of the state in environmental decision-making.

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