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Chapter

The concern and awareness about the need for environmental protection has increased dramatically, both nationally and internationally, in the last few decades. One way of putting this concern into action is the law, being a means to structure and regulate behaviour. International environmental law includes many treaties and declarations, a body of State practice and some compliance mechanisms, as well as a development towards the introduction of flexible instruments to achieve compliance. This chapter discusses the context of international environmental law; environmental theories; international obligations; selected environmental treaties; and the relationship of the environment with other international law issues.

Chapter

International environmental law is an area of international law where states have decided to cooperate with each other in order to fulfil certain goals of common interest and, for the most part, its rules and principles belong in the category of the international law of cooperation. This chapter discusses the most important parts of international environmental law and its main legal sources. It presents the fundamental principles of international environmental law, including those that seek to prevent damage to the environment and those that seek to ensure a balanced approach to environmental protection. It provides an overview of the most important parts of the substantial regulation in international environmental law, including the legal regime for the protection of the atmosphere, the conservation of nature and the regulation of hazardous substances. It also discusses features related to implementation and enforcement that are particular to international environmental law.

Chapter

International environmental law is an area of international law where states have decided to cooperate with each other in order to fulfil certain goals of common interest and, for the most part, its rules and principles belong in the category of the international law of cooperation. This chapter discusses the most important parts of international environmental law and its main legal sources. It presents the fundamental principles of international environmental law, including those that seek to prevent damage to the environment and those that seek to ensure a balanced approach to environmental protection. It provides an overview of the most important parts of the substantial regulation in international environmental law, including the legal regime for the protection of the atmosphere, the conservation of nature and the regulation of hazardous substances. It also discusses features related to implementation and enforcement that are particular to international environmental law.

Chapter

This chapter argues that rule and principles of general international law concerning protection of the environment can be identified. It should not be forgotten that international environmental law is not a separate or self-contained field of law, and nor is it currently comprehensively codified or set out in a single treaty or body of treaties. It could be argued that international environmental law is merely the application of established rules, principles, and processes of general international law to the resolution of international environmental problems and disputes, without the need for creating new law, or even for developing old law. The chapter looks in detail at the issues around the expectations and realities of international environmental law.

Chapter

This chapter studies the development of international environmental law. A significant proportion of international environmental law obligations is contained in treaties, which often provide for institutional mechanisms or procedural obligations for their implementation. There exists a dense network of treaty obligations relating to environmental protection, and to specific sectors such as climate change, the conservation of endangered species, or the handling of toxic materials. Indeed, though customary international law knows of no general legal obligation to protect and preserve the environment, certain customary rules nevertheless have been found in specific treaties, case law, and occasionally even soft law instruments. The most significant such rule is the principles of prevention, often taking the form of the ‘good neighbour’ principle. States are required to exercise due diligence in preventing their territory from being used in such a way so as to cause significant damage to the environment of another state.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the role of international law in addressing environmental problems. It reviews the salient legal principles: the preventive principle, the precautionary principle, the concept of sustainable development, the polluter-pays principle, the sic utere tuo principle, and the obligation of environmental impact assessment. It gives an overview of the key multilateral conventions covering traffic in endangered species, protection of the ozone layer, transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, climate change, and protection of the marine environment.

Chapter

This chapter turns to some of the environmental rights and obligations which attach to individuals, corporations, and NGOs in international law. The chapter considers some alternative approaches to the implementation and enforcement of international environmental law. Relying less on interstate claims, or on mechanisms of international supervision, the development of human-rights approaches to environmental protection and the economic logic of the polluter-pays principle have made claims by individuals an increasingly attractive means of dealing with domestic or transboundary environmental problems. But the diversity of the issues needs emphasis in this context also. National remedies are not necessarily alternatives to the systems considered in the last chapter, but are more often complementary to it, and only in certain respects more useful. The variety of approaches now available for the resolution of international environmental disputes does indicate the increasing sophistication of the international legal system, the chapter argues.

Chapter

This chapter turns to issues related to fresh water. Fresh water is a finite resource and the more we pollute it, the more issues we have with its use. A sustainable supply of fresh water is vital to life. Historically, international water law was not particularly concerned with environmental problems. This chapter talks of ‘international watercourse’ which is a convenient designation for rivers, lakes, or groundwater sources shared by two mor more states. The law of international watercourses has for most of its history been concerned with the allocation and use of a natural resource of international significance, not with its conservation or environmental protection. While it can be asserted with some confidence that states are no longer free to pollute or otherwise destroy the ecology of a shared watercourse to the detriment of their neighbours or of the marine environment, definitive conclusions concerning the law in this area are more difficult to draw.

Chapter

This chapter examines the institutions of global governance responsible for formulating and implementing international environmental policy and law. It starts by defining global governance as a continuing process via which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated. This provides the environment where cooperative action may be taken. Global governance includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements. In this situation, there is no single model or form of global governance, nor is there a single structure or set of structures. Global governance, therefor, is a broad, dynamic, complex, process of interactive decision-making. The chapter also looks at the differences in international environmental policy and law today compared to when this book first published twenty-five years previously.

Chapter

Catherine Redgwell

The development of international environmental law is typically divided into three periods. The first demonstrates little genuine environmental awareness but rather views environmental benefits as incidental to largely economic concerns such as the exploitation of living natural resources. The second demonstrates a significant rise in the number of treaties directed to pollution abatement and to species and habitat conservation. Here an overt environmental focus is evident, yet the approach is still largely reactive and piecemeal. The final phase, which characterizes current international environmental law, demonstrates a precautionary approach to environmental problems of global magnitude such as biodiversity conservation and climate change. Concern transcends individual States, with certain global problems now considered the common concern of humankind. This chapter defines international environmental law, its key sources and actors, and difficulties of enforcement, before embarking on a sectoral examination of the extensive treaty law applicable in this field.

Chapter

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter discusses the development of international environmental law. It first considers the Behring Sea Fur Seal arbitration in 1893, as early stirrings of the subject. It then turns to developments after 1945, including the Stockholm Declaration 1972; and the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that resulted in two documents: the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which sets out principles designed to reconcile environmental and developmental needs, and Agenda 21, which included proposals on ways to tackle ‘the delicate balance between environmental and developmental concerns’ in the twenty-first century. Next the chapter discusses techniques employed to achieve the aims of international agreements, including prohibitions, setting targets, information and informed consent, environmental impact assessment, licensing, monitoring and reporting, safe procedures and cleaning up, and liability.

Book

Edited by Malcolm Evans

International Law is a collection of diverse writings from leading scholars in the field that brings together a broad range of perspectives on all the key issues in international law. Featuring chapters written by those actively involved in teaching and practice, this fifth edition explains the principles of international law, and exposes the debates and challenges that underlie it. The book contains seven parts. Part I provides the history and theory of international law. Part II looks at the structure of the international law obligation. Part III covers the subjects of the international legal order. Part IV looks at the scope of sovereignty. Part V looks at responsibility. Part VI considers how to respond to breaches in international obligations. Finally, Part VII looks at the various applications of international law and explains issues relating to the law of the sea, environmental law, investment law, criminal law, human rights law, migration law, and the law of armed conflict.

Chapter

This chapter provides an overview of the purpose of this book. It starts by saying what the book does not expect to do. The text does not intend to answer the question whether the law we have now serves the needs of environmental justice or fairness among nations, generations, or peoples. It does, however, attempt to show, inter alia, how international law has developed a framework for cooperation on environmental matters between developed and developing states; for the adoption of measures aimed at control of pollution and conservation and sustainable use of natural resources; for the resolution of international environmental disputes; for the promotion of greater transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making; and for the adoption and harmonization of national environmental law.

Book

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalá

This book provides an authoritative account of international law. It preserves and extends Antonio Cassese’s exceptional combination of a historically informed, conceptually strong, and practice-infused analysis of international law, comparing the treatment of most issues in classical international law with the main subsequent developments of this constantly evolving field. Part I of the book covers the origins and foundations of the international community. Part II is about the subjects of the international community, including States, international organizations, individuals, and other international legal subjects. Part III examines the main processes of international law-making and the normative interactions between different norms, of both domestic and international law. Part IV studies the mechanisms of implementation of international law, including State responsibility, diplomatic and judicial means of dispute settlement, and enforcement mechanisms. Part V covers a number of areas which have undergone particular development and reached a high level of specialization, namely, UN law, the law governing the use of force, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international criminal law, international environmental law, and international economic law (trade and investment).

Chapter

This chapter studies the development of international environmental law. A significant proportion of international environmental law obligations is contained in treaties, which often provide for institutional mechanisms or procedural obligations for their implementation. There exists a dense network of treaty obligations relating to environmental protection, and to specific sectors such as climate change, the conservation of endangered species, or the handling of toxic materials. Indeed, though customary international law knows of no general legal obligation to protect and preserve the environment, certain customary rules nevertheless have been found in specific treaties, case law, and occasionally even soft law instruments. The most significant such rule is the principles of prevention, often taking the form of the ‘good neighbour’ principle. States are required to exercise due diligence in preventing their territory from being used in such a way so as to cause significant damage to the environment of another state.

Book

Anders Henriksen

International Law provides comprehensive and concise coverage of the central issues in public international law. The text takes a critical perspective on various aspects of international law, introducing the controversies and areas of debate without assuming prior knowledge of the topics discussed. Supporting learning features, including central issues boxes, chapter summaries, recommended reading and discussion questions, highlight the essential points. Topics covered include the history of international law, legal sources, the law of treaties, legal personality, jurisdiction and state immunity. The text also looks at the international law of the sea, human rights law, international environmental law, international economic law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the use of force, the laws of armed conflict and international criminal law.

Book

Anders Henriksen

International Law provides comprehensive and concise coverage of the central issues in public international law. The text takes a critical perspective on various aspects of international law, introducing the controversies and areas of debate without assuming prior knowledge of the topics discussed. Supporting learning features, including central issues boxes, chapter summaries, recommended reading and discussion questions, highlight the essential points. Topics covered include the history of international law, legal sources, the law of treaties, legal personality, jurisdiction and state immunity. The text also looks at the international law of the sea, human rights law, international environmental law, international economic law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the use of force, the laws of armed conflict and international criminal law.

Chapter

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalà

This chapter focuses on international environmental law. First, it covers certain old precedents and then examines the emergence and consolidation of environmental principles between 1972 and 2020, with particular attention to the emergence of customary international law norms (prevention, co-operation, environmental impact assessment) in this area. Secondly, it surveys the substance of international environmental law, focusing on climate change as a prominent illustration of law-making in this field, and examining compliance procedures, as developed since the end of the 1980s. Thirdly, it discusses the operation of State responsibility and civil liability mechanisms for environmental harm.

Chapter

This chapter looks at the number of ways that secure compliance with international environmental law can be employed. The more traditional approach to this subject is the familiar one of interstate claims for breach of international obligations, employing the variety of forms of dispute settlement machinery contemplated in Article 33 of the UN Charter. There are a number of disadvantages to enforcing international environmental law in this manner, particularly if it involves compulsory resort to judicial institutions. The chapter outlines these disadvantages which include the adverse effect on relations between the relevant states; the complexity, length, and expense of international litigation; the technical character of environmental problems, and the difficulties of proof which legal proceedings may entail, and uncertainty concerning jurisdiction and applicable law in legally complex disputes.

Chapter

This chapter looks, inter alia, at how international law has been used or could be used to help tackle the most significant environmental challenge of our time. This challenge is global climate change. Not many topics provide a good illustration of the importance of a globally inclusive regulatory regime focused on preventive and precautionary approaches to environmental harm—or of the problems of negotiating one on such a complex subject. Solutions to global climate change have not been easily forthcoming. The chapter looks at the efforts of the international regulatory regime to address these challenges by recourse to novel ‘market based’ mechanisms and differential treatment. An example is the post-Kyoto scheme for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through ‘nationally determined contributions’. In the end, the chapter argues, it is likely to be technology that enables us to grapple with the causes of climate change, not law, but law can drive technological change, as it has with ozone depletion and acid rain.