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Warming to Crisis: The Climate Change Law of Unintended Opportunity

2013 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law

32 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2013 Last revised: 14 Apr 2015

Tomer Broude

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - International Law Forum

Date Written: July 17, 2013

Abstract

Global warming is perhaps the ultimate crisis for humanity. But is it a crisis for international law? How has crisis framing influenced the development of international climate change law? Elements of a ‘crisis model’ can be identified in international responses to climate change, but they have transcended it and are evolving in much more complex and textured ways. On one hand, the continuous pressure for urgent and exceptional action at the multilateral level has lead to acrimony between states, indifference and denial among important constituencies, and ultimately to weak arrangements within conventional intergovernmental models. This has produced an impression of constant failure which in itself poses a challenge to the normative capacity of traditional international law-making. On the other hand, crisis framing has been a catalyst for developments in international law in unintended ways. It has legitimated ‘bottom-up’ approaches and sub-global and unilateral action, as well as localized legal responses. It has lead to sophisticated yet plausible reconciliations between climate concerns and international trade. It has promoted reconsiderations of hard policy choices, such as between mitigation and adaptation. International law’s climate change agenda has broadened, not narrowed, and it has shown a considerable capacity to innovate and develop, presenting new opportunities for international law’s functions and modalities.

Keywords: climate change, environment, Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC, mitigation, adaptation, crisis, international law, WTO

Suggested Citation

Broude, Tomer, Warming to Crisis: The Climate Change Law of Unintended Opportunity (July 17, 2013). 2013 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2294358

Tomer Broude (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - International Law Forum ( email )

Mount Scopus, 91905
Israel

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