Research Handbook on Global Climate Constitutionalism
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Research Handbook on Global Climate Constitutionalism

Edited by Jordi Jaria-Manzano and Susana Borrás

Climate change is causing traditional political and legal concepts to be revisited. The emergence of a global polity through physical, economic and social interaction demands global responses which should be founded upon new principles and which cannot simply be modelled on traditional constitutionalism centred on the nation-state. This Research Handbook explores how to build this climate constitutionalism at a global level, starting from the narrative of Anthropocene and its implications for law. It provides a critical approach to global environmental constitutionalism, analysing the problems of sustainability and global equity which are entwined with the causes and consequences of climate change. The Handbook explores how to develop constitutional discourses and strategies to address these issues, and thereby tackle the negative effects of climate change whilst also advancing a more sustainable, equitable and responsible global society.
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Chapter 5: The atmosphere as a global commons

Klaus Bosselmann

Abstract

Current climate governance is severely hampered by the dominance of national interests over global interests. The dominance is largely politically motivated, but also has a systemic dimension as manifest in the conventional concept of state sovereignty. Fiduciary obligations of the nation state cannot be restricted to its citizens in areas that affect all humans alike and regardless of their citizenship. Climate change responsibilities will be effective only if understood as legal obligations of the sovereign state. This requires the recognition of the atmosphere as a global commons.

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