Table of Contents

Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law

Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law

Edited by Michael Faure

The Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law is a landmark reference work, providing definitive and comprehensive coverage of this dynamic field. The Encyclopedia is organised into 12 volumes around top-level subjects – such as water, energy and climate change – that reflect some of the most pressing issues facing us today. Each volume probes the key elements of law, the essential concepts, and the latest research through concise, structured entries written by international experts. Each entry includes an extensive bibliography as a starting point for further reading. The mix of authoritative commentary and insightful discussion will make this an essential tool for research and teaching, as well as a valuable resource for professionals and policymakers.

Chapter I.9: Criminal law and climate change

Matthew Hall

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

The Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law is a landmark reference work, providing definitive and comprehensive coverage of this dynamic field. The Encyclopedia is organised into 12 volumes around top-level subjects – such as water, energy and climate change – that reflect some of the most pressing issues facing us today. Each volume probes the key elements of law, the essential concepts, and the latest research through concise, structured entries written by international experts. Each entry includes an extensive bibliography as a starting point for further reading. The mix of authoritative commentary and insightful discussion will make this an essential tool for research and teaching, as well as a valuable resource for professionals and policymakers.

Abstract

This chapter examines the application of criminal law to climate change at a national and international level: in terms of its readiness and the appropriateness of marshalling this body of law against activities which foster climate change, and its resulting impacts. Whilst criminal sanctions may seem desirable in terms of their associated moral censure and (arguable) deterrence and preventative attributes, the application of criminal law to climate change is conceptually and pragmatically challenging in terms of achieving actual convictions. This is true both in relation to domestic criminal justice systems (especially given the high threshold of proof and causation required in these cases) and for the application of international criminal law in such cases. As such, a combined approach encompassing criminal and administrative sanctions may be more workable. Failing that, more radical approaches may also yield favourable results including restorative and mediation options as well as the creation of a new international crime of ecocide.

Abstract

This chapter examines the application of criminal law to climate change at a national and international level: in terms of its readiness and the appropriateness of marshalling this body of law against activities which foster climate change, and its resulting impacts. Whilst criminal sanctions may seem desirable in terms of their associated moral censure and (arguable) deterrence and preventative attributes, the application of criminal law to climate change is conceptually and pragmatically challenging in terms of achieving actual convictions. This is true both in relation to domestic criminal justice systems (especially given the high threshold of proof and causation required in these cases) and for the application of international criminal law in such cases. As such, a combined approach encompassing criminal and administrative sanctions may be more workable. Failing that, more radical approaches may also yield favourable results including restorative and mediation options as well as the creation of a new international crime of ecocide.

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