Transboundary Pollution
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Transboundary Pollution

Evolving Issues of International Law and Policy

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.
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Chapter 2: Transboundary pollution in a global economy: general principles and problems in practice

Simon Tay


In the exercise of sovereignty, the actions of States can result in transboundary pollution, impacting other States that have limited ability to address environmental issues across borders. This situation invokes the tension between the ecological reality of our interconnected world and the political structures of international governance, which includes the development of international law. In exploring this issue, this chapter discusses how a study of issues surrounding traditional transboundary pollution can be broadened to one framed by the trade-environment nexus in international law. It argues that transboundary pollution should be seen not only through the simple and longer-established lens of environmental harms that are traceable physically from one country to another. Instead, this chapter discusses approaches that consider the less visible links of economic interdependence. Global law approaches considering the national law of the States involved and actors below the level of the State are necessary. The chapter concludes with some observations on the general principles that may apply to transboundary pollution, particularly with regard to ASEAN in dealing with the recurrence of forest fires and haze pollution in Southeast Asia.

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