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From Bilateralism to Community InterestEssays in Honour of Bruno Simma$
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Ulrich Fastenrath, Rudolf Geiger, Daniel-Erasmus Khan, Andreas Paulus, Sabine von Schorlemer, and Christoph Vedder

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588817

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588817.001.0001

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The Impact of Climate Change: Challenges for International Law

The Impact of Climate Change: Challenges for International Law

Chapter:
(p.1278) The Impact of Climate Change: Challenges for International Law
Source:
From Bilateralism to Community Interest
Author(s):

Nico Schrijver (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588817.003.0078

The impacts of climate change challenge traditional notions in international law, most notably those relating to the principle of territorial sovereignty, with its presumption of defined territory and fixed maritime boundaries, and State responsibility with its presumption of liability and an obligation to make reparation. Furthermore, efforts to curb climate change have given rise — sometimes in conjunction with developments in other environmental regimes — to the evolution of some new principles and concepts of international law, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, the notion of common concern of humankind, protection of vulnerable countries, and so-called flexibility mechanisms for industrial countries to implement their commitments under the Climate Change Convention. This chapter addresses a number of those challenges to international law. First, it reviews the principal international legal instruments adopted in response to climate change. Secondly, it examines the challenges of climate change to territorial sovereignty and Statehood, and, thirdly, to the maritime boundaries of coastal and island States. Fourthly, the relationship between climate change and human rights is reviewed. Fifthly, the chapter discusses whether the current rules of the international law of State responsibility represent the proper paradigm to address the problem of damage caused by climate change. Lastly, some final observations are made.

Keywords:   climate change, international law, territorial sovereignty, statehood, human rights

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