Delinking International Environmental Law and Climate Change
61 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015 Last revised: 24 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 22, 2015
This Article challenges the existing paradigm in international law that frames global efforts to address climate change as a problem of and for international environmental law. The most recent climate reports tell us that warming is unequivocal and that we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change at the domestic level in the United States. Against this backdrop, much has been written recently in the United States about domestic efforts to address climate change. These efforts are important, but they leave open the question of how the global community can work together to address the greatest collective action problem of our time. Focusing on international efforts to address climate change, this Article pushes back against the dominant framing of global climate change as a problem of and for international environmental law. It argues that the static nature of the existing global paradigm brings about two primary harms. First, the failure to address climate change overshadows the larger field of international environmental law in a way that inhibits efforts to address a suite of persistent environmental problems beyond climate change. Second, framing climate change as a traditional environmental law problem constrains efforts to think more creatively about how to address a problem that defies classification as an environ- mental issue and demands innovative governance approaches. In making the legal case for delinking the debates about international environmental law and global climate change, this Article argues that challenging the existing global paradigm is critical to thinking more constructively about collective action in the climate context.
Keywords: International Environmental Law, Climate Change, Energy Law, Transnational Environmental Law, Global Environmental Law, Global Environmental Governance
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation