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environmental law, globalization


Fifteenth Annual Lloyd K. Garrison Lecture on Environmental Law, delivered on April 1, 2009 at Pace Law School. The abstract also refers to a companion piece published in 36 Ecology Law Quarterly 101 (2009).


Legal systems across the globe are responding to environmental concerns in surprising new ways. As nations upgrade their environmental standards, some are transplanting law and regulatory policy innovations derived from the experience of other countries, including nations with very different legal and cultural traditions. New national, regional, and international initiatives have been undertaken both by governments and private organizations. Greater cross-border collaboration between government officials, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and other entities is shaping environmental policy in ways that blur traditional private/public/and domestic/international distinctions. The result has been the emergence of a kind of “global environmental law”-law that is neither purely domestic nor purely international in its origins and scope. These Articles begin by describing the concept of “global law,” why it is different from domestic and international law, and the areas of law in which it is developing. Environmental law is one of several important fields in which forms of “global law” are emerging as legal systems cope with the consequences of globalization in areas including securities regulation, intellectual property, trade and competition policy. After describing examples of this phenomenon, the Articles examine how the forces of globalization are driving the emergence of “global law” in the environmental law field. The Articles conclude by discussing the future implications of the emergence of global environmental law. They predict that globalization will not result in the complete harmonization of global environmental standards, but rather the emergence of a few principal approaches to regulation employed throughout the world with local adaptations. The Environmental lawyers and policymakers of the future will need to be educated in the new discipline of global environmental law by studying these approaches and the experience of the countries that employ them. Thus, they will need to be exposed not only to domestic law, but also to the principal approaches to environmental regulation that are emerging around the world. As globalization blurs tradition public/private and domestic/internationals distinctions in environmental law, it is time to approach the subject instead as the field of “global environmental law.”


Environmental Law