The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Robert V. Percival, Jolene Lin and William Piermattei
Chapter 16: European Union climate law and practice at the end of the Kyoto era: unilateralism, extraterritoriality and the future of global climate change governance
The European Union (EU) and its legal system have traditionally been at the forefront of the fight against anthropogenic climate change. As a matter of fact, the earliest steps taken by the European Economic Community (EEC), as it was then called, preceded the coming into existence of the first international climate law agreement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),as witnessed, for example, by a Resolution on the greenhouse effect and the Community, dated 21 June 1989, by which the Council emphasized the need for an international agreement on climate change as well as invited the Commission to ‘reconsider, as soon as possible, existing Community policies and orientations which may no longer be appropriate in the light of the need to combat the greenhouse effect. ’ The Council also urged the Community and its Member States to ‘take proper account in future policy decisions of the problem of potential climatic change linked to the greenhouse effect. ’On the basis of such promising premises, it should not come as a surprise that the EEC and its successors, the European Community (EC) and, subsequently, the EU, have consistently played a prominent role as promoters and supporters of the international legal framework that has since developed with a view to ensuring an appropriate governance of human-driven adverse effects of climate change. The UNFCCC was adopted at a time when scientific knowledge regarding climate change patterns and their causes was in rapid progress.
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