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Otomo, Yoriko (2016) 'Theorizing International Environmental Law.' In: Orford, Anne and Hoffman, Florian, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Oxford Handbooks)

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Abstract

This chapter opens up some new theoretical perspectives on environmental law, which has surprisingly been subjected to little theoretical speculation. International environmental law is generally characterized as quintessential ‘soft law’: general principles and aspirational treaties with weak or exhortatory compliance mechanisms, often dependent on other disciplines altogether—science and economics—for direction and legitimacy. At the same time, the problems it is called upon to deal with are immense, frequently catastrophic, and global in nature: climate change, species extinction, increasing desert, disappearing rainforest. To rectify this, the chapter delves into a question of terminology—why ‘international environmental law’?—before exploring its Romantic and colonial origins and concluding with how international environmental law’s origins in the confluence of the Romantic and the colonial explains the apparent mismatch between its ambitious stated objectives and its muted regulatory provisions—and how this tension continues to inform its functioning today.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
ISBN: 9780198701958
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1093/law/9780198701958.003.0040
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2015 17:29
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21430

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