A Retreat from Universality in International Environmental Law? Law's Limbo between Universality and Particularity
Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2018-12
20 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2018 Last revised: 16 Oct 2018
Date Written: September 9, 2018
With an emphasis on the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change, this paper critically reflects upon a traditional dichotomy found in the literature on environmental law according to which universality and the States are pitted against one another. It argues that this dichotomic view fails to appreciate that States are simultaneously the focal point of countless particularities necessary for the rule of law at the international level. This argument is made against the backdrop that the law is necessarily in a state of limbo between universality and particularity. In this context, it will be shown that the Paris Agreement reflects a new way to strike a balance between universality and particularity of States which does not contradict universality, but which incorporates particularity as an indispensable element of the international rule of law.
This paper was presented at the 14th Annual Meeting of European Society of International Law. (Agora 10 "Questioning Universality in International Regimes")
Keywords: International Law, International Legal Theory, International Environmental Law, Concept of Law, Universality, Particularity, Heterogeneity, Paris Agreement, Climate Change, Post-Modernity, Authority
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