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Louis J. Kotzé

The gradual rise of ‘environmental constitutionalism’ in scholarly debates suggests a deliberate, albeit (still) hesitant, attempt to view anew the human rights–environment debate through a constitutional lens. While this reignited interest seems to depart from a more environment-focused and tailor-made constitutional approach (i.e., environmental constitutionalism), one has to ask: is environmental constitutionalism merely a new label for an old phenomenon (i.e., constitutionalism); or does it actually bring something new to the table? More importantly: is this new scholarly term of art useful to the human rights–environment debate? In an effort to contribute to the young but evolving discourse on environmental constitutionalism, this Chapter seeks to commence a normative-conceptual enquiry focused on answering these questions.

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Louis J. Kotzé

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Louis J. Kotzé

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Louis J. Kotzé

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Louis J. Kotzé

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Louis J. Kotzé

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Louis J. Kotzé

The environment is a specific issue area in the global governance milieu that increasingly requires a global regulatory response. This is so because environmental degradation and resource depletion, for example, lead to externalities which ‘may persist within a single jurisdiction, across political jurisdictions, or intertemporally’.2 Global governance, as we have seen, typically deals with these externalities to the extent that it seeks to solve collective global problems, reduce costs, and protect and increase common benefits and interests. It is a regulatory response through which the world endeavours to create and apply institutional arrangements that make regulatory action possible in the global context. This would apply equally to global environmental issues.