The Global Environment and International Law

The Global Environment and International Law

Joseph F. C. DiMento
Copyright Date: 2003
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/716209
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  • Book Info
    The Global Environment and International Law
    Book Description:

    International law has become the key arena for protecting the global environment. Since the 1970s, literally hundreds of international treaties, protocols, conventions, and rules under customary law have been enacted to deal with such problems as global warming, biodiversity loss, and toxic pollution. Proponents of the legal approach to environmental protection have already achieved significant successes in such areas as saving endangered species, reducing pollution, and cleaning up whole regions, but skeptics point to ongoing environmental degradation to argue that international law is an ineffective tool for protecting the global environment.

    In this book, Joseph DiMento reviews the record of international efforts to use law to make our planet more livable. He looks at how law has been used successfully-often in highly innovative ways-to influence the environmental actions of governments, multinational corporations, and individuals. And he also assesses the failures of international law in order to make policy recommendations that could increase the effectiveness of environmental law. He concludes that a "supranational model" is not the preferred way to influence the actions of sovereign nations and that international environmental law has been and must continue to be a laboratory to test approaches to lawmaking and implementation for the global community.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79777-2
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Acronyms
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. 1. WORLDWIDE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND THE ROLE OF LAW
    (pp. 1-12)

    This chapter focuses on the need for international attention to global environmental challenges. It asks to what extent law is an appropriate vehicle to address the large number and variety of environmental and natural resource problems. The chapter sets the stage for later analyses of characteristics of an effective legal response.

    Dateline: The Pacific, 2030

    The small island state of Mondonia was completely evacuated last week. An 85-year-old couple whose lives the media have been following daily became the last people to leave this lush tropical nation. The two were taken by helicopter from their lifelong home in the village...

  7. 2. LAW TRYING TO SAVE THE EARTH: STRATEGIES, INSTITUTIONS, ORGANIZATIONS
    (pp. 13-56)

    This chapter addresses law as an instrument of international environmental protection. It first presents a short history of international environmental law. It then describes modern law by type: global, multilateral, and regional within the treaty regime; court-made law; and soft law. Then the analysis describes criteria that distinguish an instrument as law and relates the meeting of these criteria to international law’s effectiveness.

    The proliferation of treaties, conventions, and protocols on environmental protection regionally, from a transboundary perspective, and globally has been dramatic. In the last quarter-century nation-states have entered into more than 250 international environmental instruments. Overall, almost 1,000...

  8. 3. LAW’S TARGETS: WHOSE BEHAVIOR NEEDS TO BE INFLUENCED?
    (pp. 57-81)

    This chapter describes the sources of environmental degradation worldwide. It classifies them according to how they manifest themselves (global, transboundary, within a nation) and how they affect the environment. The analysis differentiates behaviors as innocent, misfeasant, or malfeasant. It addresses the extent to which they are amenable to change through various interventions, including the law. The chapter focuses on business and commerce, but it also treats the public as a source of environmental impact.

    Basic changes in the natural systems that define environmental degradation arise from many sources. Major contributors to worldwide environmental deterioration are mismanaged economic expansion and high...

  9. 4. AN ACCOUNTING: SUCCESSES AND FAILURES IN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
    (pp. 82-140)

    This chapter presents several overall assessments of the contribution of international environmental law. It first lays out the complexities of undertaking global evaluations. After summarizing the negative and positive evaluations, the chapter then takes a closer look at five case studies. It closes with a description of a set of characteristics linked to effective law.

    International environmental law contains a broad range of instruments. Assessing it is complex not only because of its scope but also because of distinctions among the instruments. Some instruments aim at most to be policy prescriptions without the same referents as hard law provisions, which...

  10. 5. INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: EXPECTATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    (pp. 141-186)

    This chapter lays out conditions that are expected in the policy world in which international environmental law evolves. They address the functions of science in the law, the roles of private industry, and perspectives on how to attain desirable international outcomes. The chapter then presents a set of recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the law, recognizing the considerable challenges of fostering change in complex systems.

    By several criteria the development of international environmental law has been impressive. Increasingly sophisticated instruments have been drafted. Much of the world community has accepted principles that reflect progressive, scientifically based understandings of environmental...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 187-200)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 201-236)
  13. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 237-242)
  14. AUTHOR INDEX
    (pp. 243-246)
  15. CONVENTIONS INDEX
    (pp. 247-248)
  16. CASE INDEX
    (pp. 249-250)