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date: 28 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses a host of what mostly are still isolated ad hoc technology-driven initiatives, usually in support of human (rights) imperatives, which effectively endeavour to engineer and re-engineer living and non-living environments in ways that have no natural, legal, or historical precedent. The umbrella term I propose to capture such initiatives is ‘environmental enhancement’. Potential examples that fit this definition include genetic modification of disease-transmitting mosquitoes to protect human health, solar radiation-management initiatives and other forms of climate engineering to sustain human life on earth, the creation of new life forms to secure food supplies and absorb population growth, and de-extinction efforts that help restore the integrity of ecosystems. The question this paper asks, in the words of Brownsword, is whether conventional environmental law ‘connects’ with environmental enhancement, focusing on EU environmental law, and whether states may be duty-bound to enhance environments in pursuit of human rights imperatives.

Keywords: Anthropocene, environmental law, EU environmental law, human rights, enhancement, technologies, regulation

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