Procedural Environmental Rights and Environmental Justice: Assessing the Impact of Environmental Constitutionalism
24 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 18, 2015
The global trend toward the adoption of environmental rights within national constitutions has been largely regarded as a positive development for both human rights and the natural environment. The impact of constitutional environmental rights, however, has yet to be systematically assessed using empirical data. In particular, the expansion of procedural environmental rights — legal provisions relating to access to information, participation, and justice in environmental matters — provides fertile ground for analyzing how environmental rights directly interface with conditions necessary for a functioning democracy. In order to understand the extent to which these provisions deliver on their lofty aspirations, the authors conduct a quantitative analysis designed to evaluate the relationship between procedural environmental rights and environmental justice. The results demonstrate that states with procedural environmental rights are more likely than non-adopting states to facilitate the attainment of environmental justice, especially as it relates to access to information.
Keywords: environmental rights, constitutionalism, environmental justice, human rights, democracy, sustainable development
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