In the book The Future of the International Environmental Law, the authors evaluate the effectiveness of the current international environmental regulations. They also discuss the major environmental challenges that include climatic change, loss of biodiversity, pollution, and overfishing in the oceans. The book further assesses the primary challenges that affect countries' capability to implement measures for biodiversity conservation (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 42-48). It also explains the role of public participation and information for achieving good environmental governance. There is an assessment of lessons learned from the implementation of the current environmental laws for the past decades. This paper focuses on developing a response paper for The Future of the International Environmental Law.
The interesting part of the book is how Leary and Pisupati successfully introduce the international outlook on the environment in the first part to familiarize the readers with the topic to be discussed in the entire book (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 1-5). They effectively explain the various environmental challenges starting with the most significant to the least. Currently, climatic change and loss of biodiversity continue to affect most countries. In my opinion, they effectively explain the steps that various nations have taken towards developing environmental law in curbing the challenges facing the environment. The steps are related to the ones adopted by most nations globally to curb environmental challenges. Most nations use legislation that includes the Clean Air Act, Climate change regulation, Clean Air Act, and Public Health Act to prevent environmental hazards (Fasoli and McGlone 2018, 35). The laws help in protecting the ecosystem and ensuring people live in a conducive environment.
Leary and Pisupati further identify the most occurring dynamic forces that characterize the futility of the regulatory responses towards environmental degradation. They successfully cite treaty congestion and failure to identify the link between the environmental aspects with international laws (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 78). Research shows that treaty congestion leads to the exhaustion of the government resources used to address the challenges faced (Telesetsky, Cliquet, and Akhtar-Khavari 2016, 86). The authors’ claims relate to the current occurrences where there is the emergence of international regimes involving interactions between the government and the non-governmental agencies. The challenges are evident in the current laws, which have led to the non-compliance. Therefore, despite the laws, countries continue to experience environmental challenges.
In the second section, Powers effectively gives a review of the specific impact of climatic change and pollution on the small developing island states. She successfully explains the international and local legal rules and barriers that impede the implementation of the required mechanisms in addressing the challenges (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 28). There is an irony that the nations cannot respond to an environmental issue in isolation. Further, Powers logically explains the vulnerability of the developing island states. It is evident that most small island countries are prone to floods, droughts, and desertification (Telesetsky, Cliquet, and Akhtar-Khavari 2016, 88). Most developing nations and islands face increasing environmental challenges before they can solve the existing ones.
Shearing successfully analyzes the specific problems that affect the capability of countries to develop and implement effective measures to conserve biodiversity. The author effectively explains the importance of addressing the key drivers to loss of biodiversity through economic and institutional regulations (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 58). The information is enlightening to the readers as it provides means through which the legal mechanisms can help in dealing with the ecological challenges (Vermeulen 2016). The government should utilize the suggestions to help in the effective implementation of environmental conservation policies.
In informing the reader of the measures taken to solve the economic challenges, Shearing logically explains the legal framework for addressing biodiversity with a focus on the Convention for Biological Diversity policies (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 62). I find the case studies used enlightening in regard to the existing international problems. Currently, national challenges continue to affect the implementation of the developed environmental conservation framework (Vermeulen, 2016). Therefore, reading the book enables nations to adopt the recommended measures to help regain biodiversity and prevent further loss.
Scovazzi effectively uses the case of the Mediterranean environment and the Barcelona system of marine pollution treaties to show the success of implementing the international environmental law (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 85). The description is vital as it shows other nations the importance of adapting the legal framework for environmental conservation. In today’s face of the rapidly evolving environmental challenges, the appraisal is significant in informing the international policymakers on how to develop policies for success (Vermeulen 2016). It is also significant in guiding the enforcement of the law.
It is interesting how Craig and Jeffery recommend the vitality of public participation and information access for sustaining the development and environmental governance. They state that “these factors are a pre-requisite if public participation in environmental governance is to be meaningful. Public participation has functional benefits,” (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 112). When they describe the various stakeholders and actors involved in the process, it helps the reader understand how public participation is important to the success of the implementation. Besides, the authors emphasize the cost of failing to include public participation by using M.C. Mehta as an example. The public has a vital role in making decisions regarding environmental regulations (Vermeulen 2016). However, the state maintains a high degree of control to determine the extent and impact of public participation.
There is a clear description of the link between human rights and the conservation of the environment. The authors suggest that individuals have the right to their land and resources (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 133). It helps the reader understand the need to integrate environmental law and human rights law to ensure success in implementing the environmental conservation framework. Today, the international environmental laws contain human rights. However, the rights are routinely violated, which makes it hard to enforce further laws (Fasoli and McGlone 2018, 34). The sources of legal obligations such as the treaties have become expansive, which has led to non-compliance with the human rights norms.
Besides, the book clearly presents valid and current case studies that detect the flaws of international environmental law. It also explains the ways in which legal mechanisms can effectively deal with global environmental challenges (Leary and Pisupati 2010, 120). I find the logic of the suggestion. It is also in line with the suggested steps by other sources which attempt to control pollution and the exhaustion of the natural resources (Fasoli and McGlone 2018, 30). I believe the use of more case studies would have been effective in ringing a bell to nations lagging with the implementation of environmental law.
Conclusively, it is evident that international environmental law has a significant role in protecting citizens and society against environmental disasters. The authors are successful in describing the efforts of the current environmental law to address the challenges. However, as the authors emphasize, developing excellent environmental governance for the international environmental challenges should go past the legal administrations. The community and citizens' efforts are required for integration in the environmental law to help in coping with the environmental challenges on a regional, national, and international scale.
Fasoli, Elena, and Alistair McGlone. "The Non-Compliance Mechanism Under the Aarhus Convention as ‘Soft’Enforcement of International Environmental Law: Not So Soft After All!." Netherlands International Law Review 65, no. 1 (2018): 27-53.
Leary, David, and Balakrishna Pisupati. The future of international environmental law. United Nations University Press, 2010:1-127.
Telesetsky, Anastasia, An Cliquet, and Afshin Akhtar-Khavari. Ecological restoration in international environmental law. Taylor & Francis, 2016: 80-200.
Vermeulen, Gert. "International environmental norms and standards: compliance and enforcement." The protection of the environment through criminal law. AIDP, 2016.
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