International Environmental Law - Course Syllabus

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International Environmental Law - Course SyllabusLaw,LAW,law


    Course Syllabus

    COURSE: International Environmental Law INSTRUCTOR: Andrew E. Esposito, J.D. TERM: Autumn 2013 E-MAIL:

    DAY / TIME: Thursday, 15:50-17:30 LOCATION: Room J04B107/ Room J02B202

Welcome to International Environmental Law!

My approach to this course is to use a combination of lecture, the Socratic Method, the case method and class discussion to

    illuminate the importance of environmental law. I also use a student inquiry model to supplement the course materials with

    discussion of issues that interest the students.

In addition to lecture and the Socratic Method, we will look at caselaw from the courts of the People’s Republic of China, the United

    States of America, and International Courts. A research paper will also be required.

The purpose of this class is to develop the critical thinking skills and analytical ability of the students and to give them an

    understanding of the importance of environmental law.

COURSE OUTCOMES Upon completion of this course, students will be able to understand:

    1. The basic issues of environmental law including:

    a. Climate change

    b. Ozone Depletion

    i. CFCs

    ii. Endangered Species

    iii. The Montreal Protocol

    c. Pollution from Toxic Chemicals and Hazardous Wastes

    i. International trade in hazardous wastes

    ii. Persistent (non-biodegradable) Organic Pollutants

    d. Ecosytem Services and Loss of Biodiversity



    i. Wetlands

    e. Access to Fresh Water

    f. Air Pollution

    g. Food Security and Agriculture

    i. The World Trade Organization

    ii. Agricultural Subsidies and the Agricultural Lobby h. Poverty

    i. Our Common Future

    ii. Sustainable Development

    1. Agenda 21

    iii. Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) < 1 USD/day

    iv. The Human Poverty Index and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

    v. Income Inequality

    vi. Population Control

    1. Elkins’ IPCT (consumption+population+technology)

    a. Green Growth and its possible limitations

    b. The Global North v. the Global South i. Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs)

    i. Technology has a downside

    j. Nano-technology

    2. An Introduction to the Issues of International Law a. How International Law is Created

    i. Customary Law and International Practice

    ii. Treaty (treaties are like contracts in which rational states to maximize their joint gains subject to transaction costs)

    1. Bilateral v. Multilateral Agreements

    2. Creation and Modification of Treaties: the role of the UN and of NGOs

    a. UN Commissions

    i. The UN Commission on Sustainable Development

    b. UN Secretariats

    3. Treaty Signatories

    4. The Ratification Process

    b. How International Law is Enforced

    i. Monitoring Compliance



    ii. Three Rs

    1. Reciprocity

    a. The Prisoner’s Dilemma

    2. Retaliation

    3. Reputation

    a. Information Management and Transparency

    iii. Sanctions and Expectation Damages

    1. Expectation damages put the non-breaching party in the position that it would have been in had the contract not

    been breached

    iv. Efficient Breach

    1. Efficient Breach occurs when a party breaches a contract because it believes that it will be in a better position if it

    breaches the contract rather than to fulfill its terms

    c. How International Law is Adjudicated = the International Court of Justice

    3. The basic principles and concepts of international environmental law

    a. International development assistance

    b. Sovereignty

    i. Political considerations

    ii. The global commons (the oceans and Antarctica) c. Technology transfers

    d. Intellectual Property (intangible)

    e. Uncertainty and the Scientific Method

    i. The Precautionary Principle

    f. Transboundary Impacts

    g. Transparency

    4. Government Responses to Environmental Law Crises a. Controls on Consumption

    i. Pricing

    1. Disequilibrium, Shortages, and Surpluses

    2. The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel

    3. Externalities and Value-Added Taxes (VAT)

    4. Black Markets

    5. Increased regulation

    6. Financial penalties



    ii. Eco-labeling, e.g., Energy Star and “China Energy Label”

    iii. Mandatory recycling

    iv. Limits on Home Energy Consumption

    1. Cap and trade

    v. Take-back programs (companies are forced to take back items once disposed of by the consumer

    b. Use of Technology (more relevant in developed countries)

    i. Emission Standards (CAFÉ) and Best Control Technology (BCT)

    ii. Electric Cars and Hybrid Cars and Green Infrastructure c. Controls on Population

    i. China’s “One Child Policy”

    ii. Neo-classical economics and birth licenses

    d. Foreign Direct Investment

    5. A Brief History of International Environmental Law from Stockholm to Rio a. The Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (1972)

    b. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

    i. States are sovereign institutions and can exploit its own resources so long as such exploitation does not adversely affect

    extra-national interests

    ii. Environmental Protection is an integral part of sustainable development

    6. International Institutions and Non-state actors

    7. International Environmental Lawmaking and the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties (1969)

    8. The Corporate Response to Issues of International Environmental Law a. Corporate Social Responsibility

    i. Advertising, Public Relations, and Going Green

    ii. Charitable Donations

    iii. Regulatory and Legal Compliance

    iv. Reporting Initiatives

    v. Ecologically Sustainable Practices

    9. Economics and Sustainable Development

    a. Public Goods and the Tragedy of the Commons

    b. Policy options

    i. Prescriptive Regulations

    ii. Property Rights

    1. Tradable Permits