Sustainability, governance, neoclassical economics, distributive justice, democracy, commons
An enduring challenge to international environmental law is to facilitate the resolution of environmental problems faster than they are being caused. Prominent among potential foundations for substantive international environmental law to this end are (a) neoclassical economic theory (NET) and (b) distributive justice and deliberative democratic theories. Building upon existing critique, this paper makes two broad arguments. The first is that despite the influence of NET’s market-based prescriptions, solutions lie not in introducing and extending the privatization and pricing of nature, but instead in subsuming markets within an expanded and enriched public sphere that is characterized inter alia by decentralized, deliberative democratic decision-making. This contention suggests a need to reform substantive environmental law that is informed by NET. The second argument made is that limitations, in particular, of the deliberative democratic approach to environmental problems (e.g., prospects of achieving consensus on natural resource use and the efficacy of any consensus that might be reached) may be overcome by combining it with common key resource control – to put it crudely, by combining meaningful political with economic democracy. This revised foundation would offer a potentially viable foundation for IEL. It also offers guidance for incipient efforts to democratize environmental regulation.
(2105) 1 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 98-126
Which direction for international environmental law?
Robert R Kuehn
Environmental justice, environmental law, distributive justice, social justice
Environmental justice disputes arise at the international, national and local levels. Disputes at the international level include allegations that multi-national corporations are exploiting indigenous peoples and the impoverished conditions of developing nations. At the national level, although an overwhelming number of studies show disparate impacts on peoples of color and lower-incomes, debate continues about the strength of that evidence and the appropriate political and legal responses to such disparities. At the local level, many people of color and lower-income communities believe they have not been treated fairly regarding the distribution of the benefits and burdens of environmental protection.
Over the past decade during which communities, academics, regulated firms, and government officials have struggled with these issues of the relationship of environmental quality to race and class, the quest to explain the problems underlying environmental justice disputes has resulted in the use of varying terminology and definitions. To better understand the essence and breadth of environmental justice concerns, this article sets forth a four-part categorization of environmental justice issues: 1) distributive justice; 2) procedural justice; 3) corrective justice; and 4) social justice. This taxonomy offers a method of collapsing the seemingly broad scope of environmental justice and identifying common causes of and solutions to environmental injustice.
(2000) 30 Environmental Law Reporter 10681
A Taxonomy of Environmental Justice