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Usha Natarajan

This chapter examines how the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) movement has approached environmental issues through division into three phases: first, the period following independence, particularly the 1960s and 1970s, where Third World international lawyers prioritized natural resource governance; second, the inauguration of the acronym TWAIL in the 1990s and a movement that remained largely sceptical of and disengaged from international environmental law; and third, the contemporary moment with a resurgence of interest in the environment within TWAIL. I structure my description in three phases on the basis of the predominance over time of different methods, approaches and attitudes on the part of Third World international lawyers to the environment. TWAIL scholars self-identify as a movement more frequently than as a method. While Third World approaches have some shared methodological characteristics that this chapter identifies, ultimately it is our political commitments that unite us, including a keen awareness of the politics of method and its implications for knowledge production.

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Usha Natarajan

This Chapter identifies some of the assumptions about nature that underpin the conception of loss and damage from climate change and assesses whether these understandings are accurate. This exploration of underlying disciplinary beliefs is motivated by a concern that, so far, international lawyers have been unable to tackle environmental problems such as climate change effectively. It is possible that at the roots of our failure lie destructive and exploitative disciplinary perceptions of nature. This chapter identifies six assumptions that bear profitable investigation. The first four are that loss and damage arising from climate change is a) identifiable, b) calculable, c) compensable, and d) attributable. The final two assumptions, which seem, at least at first glance, not to do with nature but with justice, are that e) the concept of loss and damage for climate change may help deter irresponsible behavior, and f) it makes a much-needed gesture towards fairness. These two assumptions remain pertinent concerns even if loss and damage from climate change is not identifiable, calculable, compensable, or attributable. Upon examination, this chapter concludes that ultimately all six assumptions reduce nature to its commodification and exchange value, thus reproducing our discipline's harmful relationship with the natural environment. For this reason, there are risks that international laws on climate loss and damage may have unintended consequences, including that of potentially exacerbating climate change. These risks should be taken seriously and addressed because they echo existing patterns in international environmental and climate law.