The Dynamic Evolution of International Environmental Law (2018)
AuthorsScott KNshow all
This paper1 will explore selected innovations within MEAs that have contributed to the dynamic evolution of international environmental law within the context of the traditional rules relating to treaties, international institutions and state responsibility. It will argue that whilst these innovations undoubtedly push and develop the boundaries of these areas of law, they do not represent a significant departure from the traditional principle of consent that underpins international law more generally. But should they? The period of modern international environmental law (from 1972 to date), which from a lawyer’s perspective might be described as dynamic and innovative, has simultaneously witnessed significant and persistent environmental change and degradation across the biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. We have already exceeded safe operating limits or planetary boundaries in respect of three of the nine areas of concern2 and the extent to which humankind has become an ecological force in its own right has led some scientists to herald a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene.3 The question for twenty-first century environmental lawyers is whether international environmental law is fit for the Anthropocene and whether there is sufficient scope for future dynamic evolution within the constraints and structures of the existing international legal system.
CitationScott KN (2018). The Dynamic Evolution of International Environmental Law. Victoria University of Wellington Law Review. 49. 607-625.
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