Table of Contents

Transboundary Pollution

Transboundary Pollution

Evolving Issues of International Law and Policy

NUS Centre for International Law series

Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh, Robert Beckman and Hao Duy Phan

This important new book provides a comprehensive overview of the international legal principles governing transboundary pollution. In doing so, the experts writing in this book examine the practical applications of the State responsibility doctrine in this context. The editors bring together leading scholars and practitioners to analyse the international legal framework and cooperative mechanisms that have been developed to address this pressing issue. The book also includes case studies of Asia and Southeast Asia to demonstrate how international law governing transboundary pollution has evolved and been applied in practice.

Chapter 3: Unpacking the elements of a state responsibility claim for transboundary pollution

Jacqueline Peel

Subjects: law - academic, environmental law, international economic law, trade law, private international law, public international law, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy


The legal requirements governing State responsibility for transboundary pollution are now well settled at international law. However, the limited number of cases involving transboundary pollution that have been decided by international courts and tribunals leaves open many questions concerning the practical application of State responsibility doctrines in this context. This chapter unpacks the elements of a State responsibility claim for transboundary pollution, focusing on those elements that pose the most complex issues in practice. These include questions concerning how to attribute the polluting actions of private entities to States, the content of States’ obligation to act with ‘due diligence’ in the prevention of transboundary harm, and methodologies for proving the causation of injury through transboundary pollution. The chapter illustrates these questions by drawing on the example of transboundary air pollution through the emission of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

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