POL 309-800, International Law
SUNY Oswego | Spring 2021
Dr. Craig Warkentin
Ch. 6, International Environmental Law (311-334)
Describe developing standards of state responsibility for environmental harm
Discuss the roles of CIL, treaties, and guiding principles in environmental law
Assess the prospects for effectively enforcing international environmental law
precautionary principle (330)
sustainable development (331)
What's a "legal regime"? How does it operate and what is its purpose? Is there really such a thing (or are there such things) at the global level? Explain your answers.
Is it realistic to hold states accountable for transboundary environmental harms they might cause? Absent such responsibility, what costs and benefits might states incur or accrue? By assuming such responsibility, what costs and benefits do they incur or accrue?
Assess each of the guiding principles, discussed on pp. 328-333. Rank order these in terms of (a) importance; (b) acceptance; and (c) enforceability.
Why did the Trump Administration withdraw from the Paris Agreement? Did doing so make sense, legally speaking? How so, or why not?
What political purpose does a comprehensive nuclear-test ban serve? Are motivations for such a ban based on environmental concerns, political interests, or both? Explain your answer.
With regard to the global environment, do politics drive law or does law drive politics? Offer a couple examples to support your position.
The United Kingdom failed to prove either that Albania laid the mines or that the mines were laid with the connivance of the Albanian Government. Why then was Albania held responsible for the explosion of the mines and the resulting damage?
If Albania had known of the existence of the mines, what could she have done short of removing them, to avoid responsibility for the explosions?
How would you phrase, in general terms, the principle of state responsibility which this case articulates?
What purposes might underlie such a rule? Consider that problems of proof are particularly complex at the international level, where states are not entitled to undertake investigations in the territories of other states.
The Trail Smelter was not violating any laws of British Columbia or Canada. Why then was Canada held responsible for the damage caused in the state of Washington?
How would you restate the rule of international law that Canada was found to have violated?
What sources did the tribunal rely upon in finding the above rule of international law?