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What is International Environmental Law?


Daniel Bodansky


Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

August 13, 2009

THE ART AND CRAFT OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, Harvard University Press, 2009
UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-012

Abstract:     
How and why do international environmental norms arise? In what ways (and to what extent) do they affect behavior? Do they change what states and individuals actually do, and, if so, why? How effective are they in solving international environmental problems? These are the fundamental questions I examine in a new book forthcoming this fall from Harvard University Press entitled THE ART AND CRAFT OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW.

Although international environmental law is a comparatively new field, its rules and standards now fill books - and not short books either. Not so long ago, international environmental law was considered a narrow specialty within the general field of international law. But today it has become a field in its own right, with sub-specialties on wildlife law, marine pollution, freshwater resources, climate change, sustainable development, and chemicals, among others. The Art and Craft focuses on the processes by which international environmental law is developed, implemented, and enforced rather than on the substance of international environmental law itself. Process issues have received increased attention in recent years but have not yet had a book-length treatment. This work aims to fill that gap, synthesizing recent research on international environmental negotiations, treaty design, social norms, policy implementation, and effectiveness.

“What Is International Environmental Law?” is the introductory chapter and gives a flavor of the approach taken by the book as a whole. Using an encounter I once had with an NGO fundraiser as a jumping off point, the chapter explores the scope of international environmental law as well three different perspectives on its study. The goal is to provide general readers and specialists alike with a real-world perspective on how international environmental works - and sometimes doesn’t work.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: International law, international environmental law

JEL Classification: K32, K33

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Date posted: August 15, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Bodansky, Daniel, What is International Environmental Law? (August 13, 2009). THE ART AND CRAFT OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, Harvard University Press, 2009; UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1448809

Contact Information

Daniel Bodansky (Contact Author)
Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )
Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
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