Global Justice in the Anthropocene
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND GOVERNANCE FOR THE ANTHROPOCENE (Louis Kotze, ed) Hart Publishing, 2017.
33 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 7, 2017
Scientists believe the world has entered a new geological epoch in which human economic activity is the primary driver of global environmental change. Known as the Anthropocene, this epoch is characterized by human domination and disruption of Earth system processes essential to the planet’s self-regulating capacity. The environmental problems of the Anthropocene are inextricably intertwined with patterns of trade, finance, investment, and production that have created an enormous and growing economic gap between and within affluent and poor countries. These divisions have often paralyzed international law-making, resulting in deadlocks in environmental treaty negotiations and agreements characterized by ambiguity, lack of ambition, and inadequate compliance and enforcement mechanisms. International environmental law is a field in crisis because the problems it currently confronts are deeply embedded in the existing economic order and cannot be adequately addressed by simply tinkering on the margins. As the planet’s ecosystems approach irreversible tipping points, it is essential to frame the ecological and economic crises of our time in the language of justice and morality. This chapter deploys the discourse of environmental justice to describe the challenges of the Anthropocene and to propose pathways toward a more just and sustainable economic order.
Keywords: international environmental law, environmental justice, sustainable development, Anthropocene, food justice, energy justice, climate change, rights of Nature, intra-generational justice, inter-generational justice, North-South divide, trade and the environment, human rights
JEL Classification: K32, K33, K190, N05, O13, O19, Q01, Q56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation