Seminar Paper, 2009
16 Pages, Grade: 1
2 Climate Change as a Global Concern
2.1 Climate Change as a Global Problem
2.2 Climate Change as a Global Concern
3 International Climate Change Legislation
3.1 The Protection of the Atmosphere
3.1.1 The Trail Smelter Arbitration
3.1.2 The Concept of “shared resources”
3.1.3 The proposal to declare the global climate as “common heritage of humankind”
3.1.4 The climate change as “common concern of mankind”
3.2 Pollution Control
3.2.1 The Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment
3.2.2 The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol
3.2.3 The UN Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol
4 Impacts of the Recognition of Environmental Threats as a “Global Concern”
First of all, scientific facts about the climate change and its reasons will be mentioned. Especially the Human Development Report 2007 could provide a basis for further examinations. Also the possible consequences of climate change and its impact for the different world regions have to be regarded carefully. A question in this context is, if climate change affects only single states or if the entire world population is affected. In the latter case a global problem might be recognized.
In the next chapter the author will give an overview about the concept of “global concerns in international law” and will illustrate how it is able to respond effectively to global threats. In addition it has to be examined if climate change can also be considered as a global concern and the resultant consequences of such an assumption.
In the following chapters shall be studied how the international legislation has already responded to climate change as a global concern and how effective these measures are. Their legally binding character and the obligations which have to be fulfilled by the states are elements that play an important role in this context. The legislation concerning the protection of the atmosphere and the legislation relative to pollution control are a good basis for the target examination.
Finally, also the impacts of recognising climate change as a “global concern” shall be described. In this context special attention will be paid to rapid development of customary law, possible resultant obligations “erga omnes” and the role of “jus cogens” in environmental law.
The author has chosen the deductive method to question the existence of rules of international law. Therefore an existing rule can be assessed if it is based on formal modes of creation (e.g. conventions which have been ratified by the state parties).
For his research the author consulted not only the proposed sources by the seminar supervisor and the traditional sources in the library but moreover seeked also advice from numerously electronic sources on the internet.
The goal of this chapter is to give an overview about the mature (environmental) problems in regard to climate change and to examine if a global problem respectively a global concern can be assessed.
According to the Human Development Report 2007 a large risk of drastic climate change is scientifically established. Therefore the melting of ice-sheets on Greenland and the West Antarctic or changes in the course of the Gulf-Stream could occur in the future. Further estimated effects are increased droughts, extreme water events, tropical storms and the rise of the sea level. These damages are caused by greenhouse gas emissions and are irreversible for a long time.
World’s regions will be affected very differently of climate change which threatens also human development. Javier Solana (the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union) warned in this context for emerging political and security risks. Furthermore he points out three main problems which could arise, namely growing number of conflicts over resources, increasing migration flows and territorial changes. Concerning the latter Solana highlighted that new international frameworks are needed to handle territorial claims and to avoid new political tensions. For the EU he has already proposed amongst others the development of so called “carbon diplomacy” and the build-up of new capacities in this field.
The UN Development Report also recommends establishing and strengthening multilateral framework for avoiding climate change as well as putting in place policies for sustainable carbon budgeting.
To sum up climate change is a global problem that not only affects the entire world population but that also requires collective action.
From the previous sub-chapter can be deduced that climate change is a global problem. However, it has to be examined in this chapter if climate change can also be considered as a global concern.
The notion “global concern” is an open concept in international law for global threats which affect not only one single state, but rather the entire international community. Furthermore collective action is required to protect the world population of being harmed. Therefore unilateral measures of a small number of countries don’t countervail against such menaces. Some problems, for instance the recent world finance crisis, cannot be effectively resolved without international cooperation.
According to the above-mentioned definition climate change complies with the requirements for global concerns. First of all damages which are caused by greenhouse gas emissions affect the entire world population. Secondly international frameworks are needed to respond in a collective manner to these problems. Consequently actions of a single state would not be very effective. Concluding climate change can be categorized as a global threat respectively as a global concern of international law.
In this chapter shall be examined how the international legislation has already responded to climate change as a global concern on the basis of the legislation concerning the protection of the atmosphere on the one hand and the legislation relative to pollution control on the other hand.
 Cf. UN, Summary Human Development Report 2007, http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr_20072008_summary_english.pdf (26.01.2009).
 Cf. Javier Solana, Before the Flood, in: The Guardian, 10 March 2008, http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/javier_solana/2008/03/before_the_flood.html (25.02.2009).
 Cf. UN, Summary, http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr_20072008_summary_english.pdf (26.01.2009).
 Cf. Bodansky D./Brunée J./ Hey/E., International Environmental Law - Mapping the Fiel, in: Bodansky D./Brunée J./ Hey/E (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law, Oxford (Oxford University Press) 2007, 11.
 Cf. Kigen Eleanor, Global financial crisis requires our collective effort to resolve, Business Daily, http://www.bdafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12611&Itemid=5848 (08.03.2009).
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