Defining Issues in International Environmental Law
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 17: Conclusion
1 INTRODUCTION Having worked through thousands of words, it is now possible to state my conclusion. In doing so, I intend to keep this final chapter quite brief, so that it is possible to see my overall thesis, rather than a collection of reconstituted chapter conclusions. My thesis is that there are three primary issues before the international community operating within the IWC. Depending on how the IWC comes to terms with each of these, will directly affect the success or failure of its enterprise. 2 THE THREATS ARE CHANGING Historically, the greatest threat to cetaceans was overharvesting. In the present and future it is likely that whales, dolphins and porpoises will face different threats. These will be less visible than, but just as deadly as, the traditional forms of whaling that have commonly led to their overexploitation and population decline. The new threat to a majority of cetacean species which are still threatened, and may yet become the greatest ever threat, is that of anthropogenic environmental change and the multiple sources of pollution that the change manifests itself in. The responses by the international community to threats from the oceans, from oil to marine dumping, are being confronted in specifically related forums. Likewise, the international threats from POPs and the ozone layer are also, arguably, being confronted. However, in addition to the numerous loopholes in all of the above regimes, is the general failure of the international community to adequately confront the multiple sources of land-based pollution, or the...
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