Tag Archives: environmental damage

Humanitarian Law and the Environment (M. N. Schmitt)

Author(s)

Michael N. Schmitt

Keywords

war crime, environmental damage, environmental degradation, international humanitarian law, environmental consequences of warfare, International Criminal Court, military operations, environmental safeguarding, weapons, treaty law

Excerpt

“Introduction

When the Rome Conference adopted the Statue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in July 1998, it included as a war crime the causation of “widespread, long term and severe damage to the natural environment.” Such “greening” of international humanitarian law promises heightened sensitivity to the environmental consequences of warfare as we enter the new millennium. The ICC Statue provision, however, is but the most recent example of a growing environmental consciousness vis-a-vis military operations that first began to surface over two decades ago.

This article catalogues those aspects of international humanitarian law that safeguard the environment during armed conflict: it is intended primarily as a primer for those new to the subject. As will become apparent, humanitarian law has focused scant attention directly on the environment. Instead, it relies on conventional and customary humanitarian law that has only recent been recognized as having environmental consequence for the bulk of its environmental play. Following a brief review of the historical context from which the law emerged, discussion turns to four types of relevant norms: 1) specific environmental provisions in humanitarian law; 2) limits on the use of particular weapons capable of causing environmental damage; 3) non-environment specific treaty law which may safeguard the environment in certain circumstances; and 4) customary humanitarian law offering environmental protection. Although the article’s tenor is primarily descriptive, in order to stimulate further reflection, the final section provides an abridged assessment of the applicable normative environment; it suggests that while the environment component of international law governing warfare is not vacuous, there is certainly room for improvement.” (265-6)

Citation

(2000) 28 Denver Journal of International Law and Policy 3 pp. 265-323

Paper

Humanitarian Law and the Environment

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The Paradox of the Future in Contemporary Energy Policy: A Human Rights Analysis (D. M. Smolin)

Author

David. M. Smolin

Keywords

human rights, energy policy, environmental damage, ecological damage, energy demand, energy technologies

Excerpt

As the world heads toward a projected 9 billion people by 2050, 2 there are fundamental questions about how to provide an adequate and sustainable standard of living for the world’s population. As a matter of human rights, the creation and provision of an adequate standard of living is fundamental. 3 As a practical matter, preparing to meet the projected needs of these future generations is one of the fundamental challenges of this generation and time.

Energy is a fundamental component of meeting present and future economic needs, both because it is a very significant economic sector, and also because virtually all economic activity is dependent on the availability of energy, in one form or another. The availability and price of energy therefore deeply impacts the entire economy, and hence is critical to both present and future economic challenges. There is no way to create an adequate standard of living for human beings, including food, water, sanitation, clothing, housing, health care, education, transportation, and cultural activities, without adequate and inexpensive sources of energy. 4

The question is whether there will be adequate sources of energy, available at a reasonable cost, to meet future demand. A closely related question is the extent of ecological and environmental damage that would be produced by the energy technologies used to meet this energy demand. Such damage is a matter of concern both for the sake of the environment and earth itself, and also due to negative effects of ecological and …

Citation

(2010) 40 Cumberland Law Rev. 135

Paper

The Paradox of the Future in Contemporary Energy Policy: A Human Rights Analysis

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Contextualizing Environmental Human Rights: A Relativist Perspective (R. Mushkat)

Author(s)

Roda Mushkat

Keywords

environmental protection, environmental deterioration, environmental damage, environmental human rights, relativist, relativism

Abstract

INTRODUCTION
The global environment continues to deteriorate, a phenomenon which manifests itself in virtually every sphere featuring interaction between man and nature. The full scale of this deterioration may not be fully apparent because of the long time lag between the emergence of environmental problems and their recognition. The extent of damage, actual and potential, to the physical habitat inevitably varies from one segment of the system to another, but it is considered to be serious overall and is deemed to be verging on the critical in certain physical domains, although an element of value judgement is doubtless involved in such assessments. Where the disruption caused/to be caused is most acute, global warming being an obvious case in point, one may legitimately conjure up scenarios depicting uncontrolled escalation, inadequate coping mechanisms, and widespread social dislocation. The consequences of man’s abuse of nature have by no means gone unnoticed. They have been acknowledged and incorporated into the policy agenda at the global, regional, national, and subnational level. The law has played a vital role in the process, both through domestic and international channels. Nevertheless, the problems persist – indeed, they proliferate and assume more unpalatable forms. Institutional responses are seldom commensurate with challenges confronting communities and environmental degradation is perhaps no exception to the norm.

Citation

(2009) 26 Pace Environmental Law Review 116.

Paper

Contextualizing Environmental Human Rights: A Relativist Perspective

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Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward and Environmental History of War (R.P. Tucker)

Author

Richard P. Tucker

Keywords

War, environment, nature, environmental damage, military strategies, timber, disease, American Civil War

Abstract

How has war changed and damaged the environment? How has nature influenced war? As the first collection of essays on war and environmental history, Natural Enemy, Natural Ally heralds the advent of a major new field of study. Contributors to the volume explore the dynamic between war and the physical environment from a variety of provocative viewpoints. The subjects of their essays range from conflicts in pre-colonial India and early colonial South Africa to the U.S. Civil War and twentieth-century wars in Japan, Finland, and the Pacific Islands. Among the topics explored are:

* the ways in which landscape can influence military strategies;

* why the decisive battle of the American Civil War was fought;

* the impact of war and peace on timber resources;

* the spread of pests and disease in wartime.

Citation

Richard P. Tucker, Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward and Environmental History of War (Oregon State University Press, 2004)

Book

Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward and Environmental History of War

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Prosecuting Members of the US Military for Wartime Environmental Crimes (E.T. Jensen & J. Teixeira)

Author(s)

Eric Talbot Jensen
James J. Teixeira, Jr.

Keywords

International law, law of armed conflict, law of war, military, environment

Abstract

War is inherently damaging to the environment. Though these deleterious actions are often attributed to “states” during times of armed conflict, they are normally the result of military operations conducted by members of the military who are carrying out orders from military superiors. While many have proposed systemic changes that affect how states can or should be held responsible, few have commented on the process of holding individual military personnel or commanders responsible for battlefield acts of environmental damage. This paper argues that there are sufficient laws and regulations in place to hold individuals and commanders in the United States military responsible for illegal environmental damage during wartime. Further, these laws and regulations provide sufficient penalties and other enforcement mechanisms to deter potential violators, punish convicted criminals, and protect the environment.

Citation

(2005) 17 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 651

Paper

Prosecuting Members of the U.S. Military for Wartime Environmental Crimes

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