State Responsibility for Human-Induced Environmental Disasters

55 German Yearbook of International Law 175 (2012)

38 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2013

See all articles by Rebecca M. Bratspies

Rebecca M. Bratspies

City University of New York - School of Law

Date Written: December 24, 2012

Abstract

The transboundary nature of our most pressing environmental problems, like climate change, pollution, and loss of biodiversity underscore the international dimensions of environmental problems. It also highlights a serious gap in international law – the current inability of international law to reach private conduct causing environmental harm. This article suggests that State responsibility might be a critical component of international environmental governance. In particular, it articulates a vision of State responsibility that encompasses the failure to regulate private conduct within a State’s borders. Such an interpretation of State responsibility can help break us out of dilemmas created by an outdated vision of sovereignty. If so, State responsibility may offer some exciting new possibilities for resolving thorny environmental puzzles.

Keywords: Sovereignty, State Responsibility, Sustainability, Disaster, Internationally-Wrongful Acts, Environment, Fukushima, Deepwater Horizon, Trail Smelter

JEL Classification: K19, K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Bratspies, Rebecca M., State Responsibility for Human-Induced Environmental Disasters (December 24, 2012). 55 German Yearbook of International Law 175 (2012) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2298079

Rebecca M. Bratspies (Contact Author)

City University of New York - School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States

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