National Government Interventions in a Global Arena
Edited by Frank Wijen, Kees Zoeteman, Jan Pieters and Paul van Seters
Chapter 21: Overcoming the Limitations of Environmental Law in a Globalised World
Jonathan Verschuuren SUMMARY Globalisation has negative side-effects on the environment, especially as a consequence of the growing opportunities for businesses to avoid strict national environmental laws by moving operations (or waste) to places in the world where strict environmental legislation either is absent or remains unenforced. National environmental laws indeed have a fundamental flaw, because they only regulate activities within the national territory of a state. There are two ways to deal with the limitations of national law. The first is to abandon national law altogether and focus on non-state law, that is, environmental norms concluded between businesses and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). The second is to improve national law. Administrative authorities as well as the legislature can stimulate and facilitate businesses and NGOs to form partnerships. The legislature can also try to extend the principle of territoriality as much as possible, for instance, by regulating the environmental performance of foreign subsidiaries of enterprises that are legally seated in a country. Slowly but surely, national courts are extending their grip on illegal activities outside national territories. Again, this process can be facilitated by the legislature, for example, by creating liberal procedural rules that allow easy access to justice and by instituting a system of legal aid that facilitates victims of environmental pollution from developing countries to sue polluters’ headquarters in the developed world. INTRODUCTION Law still is mainly aimed at the territories of national states, with national authorities being competent to regulate only events within their national 616 M2782 - WIJEN...
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