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Chapter

Cover International Law

10. International environmental law  

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

Cover International Law

10. International environmental law  

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

Cover Cases & Materials on International Law

12. International Environmental Law  

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

Cover Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law

15. Legal aspects of the protection of the environment  

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

Cover International Law

22. International Environmental Law  

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

Cover Birnie, Boyle, and Redgwell's International Law and the Environment

10. International Watercourses: Environmental Protection and Sustainable Use  

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.

Book

Cover Birnie, Boyle, and Redgwell's International Law and the Environment
Birnie, Boyle, and Redgwell's International Law and the Environment places legislation on the protection of the environment firmly at the core of its argument. It uses sharp and thorough analysis of the law, sharing knowledge and experience. The chapters provide a unique perspective on the implications of international regulation, promoting a wide understanding of the pertinent issues impacting upon the law. The text starts by looking at international law and the environment. It looks at the rights and obligations of states concerning the protection of the environment. The text also considers interstate enforcement which includes state responsibility, compliance, and dispute settlement. It moves on to consider non-state actors such as environmental rights, liability, and crimes. Climate change and atmospheric pollution are given some consideration. The text also examines the law of the sea and protection of the marine environment. Conservation is dealt with in detail, including the conservation of nature, ecosystems, and biodiversity and marine living resources. Finally, the text looks at international trade.

Chapter

Cover International Law

19. The protection of the environment  

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.