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The Atmosphere and International Environmental Law

explanatory Essay
5991 words
5991 words
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In the past few decades the climate of our planet has been stressed by increasing energy demands that have arisen, because of the global population explosion and the expansion of industry. It is our objective to increase awareness about the international laws and regulations regarding the atmosphere. We can achieve this goal by:

- Mapping and understanding of: the relationships between atmospheric laws, and the relationships between the most prominent atmospheric treaties.

- Presenting the future, which involves a rise in global temperatures and the consequences of this change.

- Discussing the position of developing states, which requires an understanding that: developing states wish to be involved in climate conventions, but factions have arisen within the developing world about the extent of their responsibility and their relationship with the developed world.

- Finally, by understanding the role of developed countries and the problems they have faced in achieving organization: collectively, and with developing countries. This includes a brief discussion about state dedication to regulations, and roles in enforcement.

International Environmental law got a slow start in the beginning of the twentieth century. The first environmental laws were about the use of shared waterways. These first laws focused more on commercial rights and not ecological issues. The first ecologically friendly laws were designed for the protection of chosen wild animals and birds, such as the 1902 Convention for the Protection of birds Useful to Agriculture, and the 1911 Treaty for the Preservation and Protection of Fur Seals.

In 1909 the United States and the United Kingdom signed a Boundary Water Treaty, whic...

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... yearly.

The best forms of policy are policies that are preventive, similar to traffic laws of the highway. Motorists who run red lights get where they are heading quicker and are not hurting themselves, but they are endangering the public. Industries that pollute are not hurting themselves, but instead are degrading the health of the general public. Instead of reactionary policy and treaties, which deal with existing problems, we need policy that aims to change behavior so environmental problems are eliminated before they are created(Sand 97).

In the future more international agreement must be reached which will involve cooperation between all of the states. The gap between states that was developing at Kyoto needs to be bridges if the world is going to make any progress with the many atmospheric and other environmental problems that it faces.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that it is our objective to increase awareness about the international laws and regulations regarding the atmosphere.
  • Explains the relationship between atmospheric laws and atmospheric treaties. they present the future, which involves a rise in global temperatures and the consequences of this change.
  • Concludes by understanding the role of developed countries and the problems they have faced in achieving organization: collectively, and with developing countries.
  • Explains that international environmental law got a slow start in the beginning of the twentieth century. the first environmental laws focused more on commercial rights and not ecological issues.
  • Explains that the united states and the uk signed a boundary water treaty in 1909, which created precedence for international environmental law.
  • Explains that the international convention for the regulation of whaling started protection of the global commons. the atmosphere was the last biome to be addressed in international environmental law.
  • Explains that the united nations conference on environment and development (unced) organized the 1972 un stockholm conference on the human environment, which is considered the start of modern international law.
  • Explains that in 1972, the world population was 3.84 billion and 72 percent lived in developing countries. the annual release of carbon dioxide was at sixteen billion tons, and the ambient carbon level was 327 parts per million.
  • Explains that the world's population has grown by 5.85 billion people since the rio summit. the montreal protocol took effect, but cfcs will continue to rip holes in the ozone layer until the 22nd century.
  • Explains that there are several international treaties that have been created to protect the atmosphere and information about them is widely available. the 1972 stockholm treaty brought worldwide awareness to the issue of transboundary pollution and the problems facing the environment through soft law.
  • Explains that the 1979 convention on long-range transboundary pollution was the first international agreement that focused on the problem of acid rain.
  • Explains that the 1981 u.n.e.p. meeting in uruguay sought to prioritize the world’s environmental problems, and opened the doors for the 1985 vienna convention.
  • Explains that the montreal protocol was the first international agreement to impose specific guidelines and timetables for achieving a set of goals.
  • Explains that the 1985 sulfur emissions protocol and the 1988 nitrogenemission protocol were created to address the growing concern of global warming and acid rain.
  • Explains that the 1989 hague declaration called for action within the framework of the un to respond to the problem of global climate change.
  • Explains that the wmo/unep assessment first alerted the world to the ozone depletion problem. british scientists published astonishing findings based on land-based measurements of stratospheric ozone made at halley bay station in the antarctic.
  • Explains that the unep convened a meeting in 1977 to adopt the world plan of action on the ozone layer and the global coordinating committee. the vienna convention stated the ozone problem to the participating states.
  • Explains that the montreal conference was the first time that all parties were in agreement that some amount of phased reductions was appropriate. the montreal protocol required parties to reduce their production and consumption of five cfc’s specified in group 1.
  • Explains that the montreal protocol parties: adjustments and amendments on substances that deplete the ozone layer was held in copenhagen to make the necessary adjustments due to new technologies.
  • Explains that global warming is a serious problem facing the environment, and states are unable to agree on an attack plan for this looming problem.
  • Explains that the earth has a balancing mechanism to control temperature fluctuation in the atmosphere.
  • Explains that since the industrial revolution, the average world temperature has risen.3-.6 degrees c, due to the increasing levels of greenhouse gasses, but computer models have agreed with these statistics, stating that this increase in temperature is the result of anthropogenic sources.
  • Predicts that global warming will cause detriments to the environment and to ourselves if the average daily temperature rises just two degrees.
  • Estimates 9,800 additional deaths per year just in the u.s. due to pollution that will collect over major cities and respiratory illnesses.
  • Opines that the future looks bleak, but there is still hope. over the last thirty years, citizens of the world have been recognizing the importance of this problem.
  • Explains how international meetings laid the frameworks for the conservation of the environment, specifically the atmosphere.
  • Explains that the rio conference started the talks of reducing co2 emissions across the world. however, the conference was not a great success as there were heated debates regarding economics and the well-being of individual nations.
  • Explains that the world's leaders in the environment convened to draft a plan for the reduction of greenhouse gasses with no evail. germany and britain led the way with goals of 20% cut over current emissions.
  • Opines that kyoto, japan 1997 agreed on a 5.2% reduction over 1990 levels, which is not sufficient to save the environment from the pressures of global warming.
  • Explains that even though many treaties and conferences have failed to implement any serious legislation, there are some cases where action is being taken to improve the growing problem with global warming.
  • Explains that glasgow is leading the way when it comes to energy conservation and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Describes oslo's energy conservation plan and how the city imposed a 1/6 cent tax on their energy bills. five years later, they had enough capital to implement "oslo energy as."
  • Opines that developing countries can agree on few things either with each other or with the developed countries, but they do agree that they should take responsibility to clean those problems up.
  • Explains that there are factions with conflicting views that make agreements within the developing countries difficult. the major group, which works directly with diplomatic relations in the atmospheric conventions, is called the group of 77.
  • Explains that the alliance of small island states (aosis) is in favor of reductions because they face extinction as a country if water levels begin to rise.
  • Explains that the alliance of opec, the organization of petroleum exporting countries, is against reductions in the use of fossil fuels.
  • Explains that the group of 77 has demanded compensation in exchange for agreement with atmospheric protocols. large developing countries like india, china and brazil favor a general g-77 rule.
  • Explains that developed countries have suggested joint implementation projects and emissions trading to reduce air pollution and the release of greenhouse gases. emissions trading allows countries to earn credits by reducing emissions.
  • Explains that the tide has turned to greater agreement within the developing countries for emissions reductions. there was speculation before the kyoto convention that there was now a greater 'green group' leading discussions.
  • States that the kyoto protocol includes legally binding emissions cuts for developing countries. combined emissions must be reduced by at least five percent by the time period 2008-2012.
  • Explains that developing countries are not just participating in global conferences. in 1990 and 1991, there were regional conferences in asia, africa and latin america.
  • Explains the shared but differentiated responsibilities of states to counter-act climate change, the need for funding and technology transfer from industrial to developing countries, and the importance of sustainable development.
  • Explains that thailand is in a position to be adversely affected by climate change. the country has signed the 1992 climate convention, indicating their support of emissions reductions.
  • Explains that thailand has taken steps to reduce emissions, such as a ban on logging and tree-planting program. with increased technology, energy efficiency would increase because many developing countries use older, less efficient technologies.
  • Explains that the united nations environmental program (unep) warned the world wasn't doing enough to solve its environmental problems. industrialized countries spend about 80 billion dollars a year on subsidies that encourage excessive use of fossil fuel.
  • Analyzes the 1980 memorandum of intent between the united states and canada as an example of bilateral international policy involving two developed countries.
  • Explains that the un framework convention on climate change (unfccc) was drafted in rio in 1992 by 155 countries and is a good example of multilateral international policy.
  • States that the berlin mandate was formed during 1995 and was designed to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. the alliance of small island states proposed a 20% reduction from 1990 levels by 2005, while the european union proposed freezing levels at the 1990 medium indefinitely.
  • Explains that the u.s. refused to submit a timetable or goal for emissions reduction in berlin and bonn. the unfccc was modified in kyoto to reduce emissions 5% from 1990 levels by 2010.
  • Explains that 142 countries met in bonn, germany in 1997 to tackle the issue of global warming and modify the 1992unfccc, but they were unsuccessful in creating a timetable or standard level of emissions.
  • Explains that kyoto protocol came at a time when developing nations were strengthening their bond and thereby solidifying their right to development.
  • Explains that kyoto protocol regulations are fair because 60% of the world's air emissions are generated in industrialized countries, but developing nations are expected to surpass the levels of today’s industrialised nations by 2010.
  • Argues that emissions trading, which allows countries that fail to reach their emissions goal to pay countries below their 1990 level of emissions, was one issue of controversy that arose out of kyoto.
  • Explains that even in cases like the 1985 sulfur emissions protocol, which calls for a 30% reduction in emissions, the action is derived ratification into domestic laws.
  • Explains that the united states has implemented dozens of programs through amendments such as the transported air pollution mitigation act of 1997 and the national environmental technology achievement act.
  • Explains how the un economic commission for europe (un/ce) program for licensing imported cars was successful in ratifying international law.
  • Explains that germany began issuing licenses to environmentally friendly products in 1979 and similar programs have been introduced in canada, japan, and scandinavia.
  • Describes sweden, finland, the netherlands, and switzerland as examples of positive steps towards the environment.
  • Explains that great britain has done more than the average to uphold its commitment to the rio convention by greatly reducing its emissions, while maintaining overseas aid. however, the majority of developed countries have fallen far short of their goals.
  • Explains that the international community may need to form a regulatory body to perform regular inspections and require updates from signatory states. the ilo has been monitoring multilateral conventions for 75 years.
  • Opines that the best forms of policy are policies that are preventive, similar to traffic laws of the highway. instead of reactionary policy and treaties, we need policy that aims to change behavior.
  • Opines that more international agreement must be reached, which will involve cooperation between all states. the gap between states that was developing at kyoto needs to be bridged if the world is going to make any progress with the many atmospheric and other environmental problems.
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