What's So Bad about Unilateral Action to Protect the Environment?

9 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2006  

Daniel Bodansky

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Abstract

National actions to protect the environment can be more or less unilateral, ranging from those that promote purely national policies at one extreme to those that promote international norms at the other. Although the preference for international action to protect the environment is understandable, sometimes unilateral action can play a catalytic role in the development of an environmental regime. Moreover, often effective multilateral action is impossible, so the choice is not between unilateralism and multilateralism but between unilateralism and inaction. Rather than condemning unilateral action outright, we need to evaluate each particular unilateral action (or inaction) to determine whether it advances or detracts from desired ends.

Keywords: international law, environment, unilateralism, multilateralism

JEL Classification: K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Bodansky, Daniel, What's So Bad about Unilateral Action to Protect the Environment?. European Journal of International Law, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 339-348, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=886304

Daniel Bodansky (Contact Author)

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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