Ian H. Rowlands
What is ‘atmosphere’ and what is ‘outer space’? The term ‘atmosphere’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘air’. Moreover, it is often assumed that ‘outer space’ is simply the area above and beyond ‘air space’ (another term often used). While understandings such as these are certainly reasonable for most discussions, the effective development of international environmental law may well demand more precise definitions. This article provides an overview of key atmospheric and outer space environmental challenges that have been – and continue to be – addressed by international environmental law. It examines transboundary air pollution, ozone layer depletion, global climate change, and outer space. For each of these issue areas, the article describes a particular environmental problem (or set of environmental problems). It also reviews key elements of the international legal response (including especially significant agreements), focusing on innovative approaches taken as part of this response. In addition, the article discusses transboundary transport of industrial pollutants as well as major industrial accidents.
In the past century, a large number of bilateral, regional, and global agreements have been adopted relating to the protection, preservation, conservation, and management of the Earth's terrestrial and marine species and genetic resources. Despite the vast amount of international law relating to the conservation of biological resources, species, habitat, and genetic diversity loss is now considered to be reaching crisis proportions, with potentially catastrophic consequences for humankind. This article examines the current international legal regime for the protection of the Earth's biological resources. It begins with a discussion of the meaning of the term ‘biological resources’, the philosophical rationales for their protection, and the theoretical approaches thereto. The article then examines the various legal regimes and regulatory measures that have been adopted. The types of regimes for the conservation of biological resources include the regulation of harvest (harvest of species and genetic resources), habitat protection, and regulation of trade (control of exploitation and introduction of alien or invasive species). The article also considers measures regulating direct threats and indirect threats.
Karen Alvarenga Oliveira
This chapter examines the climate change policy of Brazil. In 2010 at the Sixteenth Conference of Parties in Cancún, Brazil announced its voluntary national target of significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 36.1 per cent and 38.9 per cent of projected emissions by 2020. These targets were defined in the Brazilian National Policy on Climate Change (PNMC). The PNMC establishes principles, guidelines, and economic instruments for reaching the national voluntary targets. It relies on sectoral plans for mitigation and adaptation to climate change in order to facilitate the move towards a low-carbon economy. The PNMC defined various aspects related to the measurement of goals, formulation of sectoral plans and of action plans for the prevention and control of deforestation in all Brazilian biomes, and governance structure.
Steven R. Ratner
Business has a central role in international environmental law. Both treaties and treatises regard private economic actors as secondary players, and see states as the overwhelmingly dominant targets and prescribers of environmental law. This article examines the roles and goals of business entities with respect to international environmental law. It then considers how international law has accommodated the place of business in environmental policy with respect to two key issues: corporations as the target of legal obligations; and corporations as participants in the process of international environmental law, particularly with respect to law making and implementation. The article also looks at business-initiated non-governmental organisations, both those composed of, or representing, businesses within one state, as well as those with a more international profile. It examines business and environmental regulation, focusing on two visions of international business. Finally, the article analyses business as the target of international environmental law duties, civil liability conventions, soft regulation, corporations as prescribers of norms, monitoring and enforcement of business behaviour, and litigation.
The capture and long-term storage of carbon dioxide from power plants and other industrial installations may prove a key technology in climate change abatement strategies. Regulatory frameworks for carbon capture and storage (CCS) are now being developed in a number of jurisdictions. The European Union produced the first comprehensive legislation on the subject in 2009, which provides a compelling example of challenges associated with the design of regulation dealing with a novel technology. This chapter identifies three issues, each of which reflects aspects of regulatory legitimacy: the extent to which states within a federal or quasi-federal system should have the legal discretion to reject a technology; the way in which regulation provides for opportunities for public participation and engagement in issues concerning the new technology; and whether, and at what point, the state should assume responsibility for storage sites, given the long timescales necessary for secure storage.
Andrew Shoyer, Jung-ui Sul, and Colette van der Ven
This chapter examines the phenomenon of carbon leakage, which is an increase in carbon emissions as a result of businesses moving to other states without carbon reduction measures. Pursuant to the commitments established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, many developed states imposed numerous greenhouse gas emission (GHG) targets, while most developing countries have not adopted any carbon reduction measures. Carbon leakage remains an area of great concern to states and industries seeking to reduce carbon emissions, as it has the potential to undermine the effectiveness of carbon reduction measures and hurt the competitiveness of the industries that decide to remain in those states. The chapter outlines the measures taken to combat carbon leakage. Specifically, it highlights carbon leakage prevention measures under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and under similar carbon regulation measures in South Africa and the United States.
David Freestone and Clive Schofield
This chapter assesses the legal regime of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. It first examines regional maritime claims before reviewing marine activities, environment, and resources within the Caribbean. It then considers the current status of the delimitation of maritime boundaries in the Caribbean Sea, through agreements as well as judicial settlement. It highlights remaining problems and provides some concluding observations.
Since the early days of modern public international law, the state has been the most important subject thereof. However, today, it is neither the sole, nor necessarily the primary, actor in international (environmental) relations. In recent years, the role of the state and, notably, the ability of the state to address environmental risks and threats, have increasingly come to be scrutinised. While states' standard setting remains important, commentators have argued that the ability and willingness of states to implement and enforce such standards have major weaknesses. Nevertheless, the state remains a truly important actor in international relations. It forms part of international governance, which has become multilevel governance. This article discusses the changing role of the state in international environmental governance. It examines states as authors, addressees, and guardians of international environmental law. The article also considers the over-estimation of Westphalian concepts of sovereignty, international environmental agreements, international environmental obligations, statehood as an element of a global system of environmental governance, and the role of the state in the transformation of the international legal system.
This chapter explores the legal understanding of climate change damages in public international law. It shows that international law has been dealing with transboundary damages since its inception. Damages, whether material or immaterial, have been subject to many inter-state disputes presided upon by international courts and tribunals. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change established the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage to address loss and damage associated with impacts of climate change, including extreme events and slow onset events, in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, under the Cancún Adaptation Framework. The Warsaw international mechanism is also tasked with the promotion and the implementation of approaches addressing loss and damage associated with those adverse effects. The chapter also describes the growing trend of states who suffer from climate change seeking remedy from other states for their losses.
Daniel A. Farber
This chapter looks into a specific dimension of adaptation to climate change—disaster risks. It reviews the prospects for increases in disaster risk due to climate change and considers arguments that governments have a duty under international law to respond to these increased risks. Climate change greatly accentuates disasters, putting even more stress on disaster response systems. The list of potential disasters is long, and includes heat waves, droughts, crop failures, wildfires, and outbreaks of illness. Besides the direct threats to human life and property, impacts on food supplies could be severe due to pests, water scarcity, diseases, and weather extremes. The chapter also addresses all phases of the disaster cycle: mitigation, emergency response, compensation, and rebuilding, with rebuilding completing the circle by including (or failing to include) mitigation measures to deal with the risk of another disaster event, and discusses how climate change intensifies problems at each stage.