Table of Contents

Research Handbook on International Marine Environmental Law

Research Handbook on International Marine Environmental Law

Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series

Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse

This authoritative Handbook examines the current state and the future needs of international law in addressing the key activities that pose threats to the marine environment. Its chapters explore the legal framework for protection of the marine environment, pollution of the marine environment, seabed activities and the marine environment, protection of marine biodiversity, regional approaches to the protection of the marine environment and climate change and the marine environment. Each chapter goes beyond a survey of existing law to identify the shortcomings in the legal regime and areas of critical research needed to address these shortcomings. This book provides significant insights into contemporary issues surrounding the efficacy of the regime created by the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and details the further work needed to ensure the design and implementation of effective regulation and management of human activities that affect the marine environment.

Chapter 21: Geoengineering and the marine environment

Karen N. Scott

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law


This chapter critically assesses marine geoengineering as a novel and controversial use of the marine environment from the perspective of the law of the sea. It begins with an assessment of the first and thus far, only, regulatory framework specifically designed to manage a subset of geoengineering activities, ocean fertilization: the 2013 amendments to the 1996 Protocol to the 1972 London (Dumping) Convention. The chapter goes onto explore the extent to which the new framework developed in these amendments provides an appropriate and robust response to the environmental and ethical challenges posed by ocean fertilization activities. In light of the fact that the 2013 amendments are not yet in force and will, once they enter into force, bind only a relatively few states in respect of a very narrow range of geoengineering activities, the chapter then proceeds to examine the broader rights and responsibilities incumbent on states under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) and the dumping regime with respect to marine geoengineering activities more generally. In particular, the chapter explores the extent to which global obligations to protect the marine environment and to control scientific research provide appropriate tools for managing the risks posed by geoengineering. Finally, the chapter concludes with some thoughts on the risks of developing a regulatory regime for geoengineering under the law of the sea in isolation from a broader ethical debate over the relationship between geoengineering, emissions reductions and climate change mitigation more generally.

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