International Environmental Law - Course Syllabus

By Stephen Bennett,2014-09-12 10:10
19 views 0
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



    2. Financial Penalties

    a. Liability

    3. Elimination of Payments and Subsidies

    4. The Power of Persuasion

    iii. The Law of the Sea Convention and EEZs

    iv. Public Choice Theory

    v. Discounting and Valuation

    vi. The Environmental Sustainability Index

    vii. Ecological Economics

    1. Scarcity or Abundance

    2. The problem of scale

    c. Sustainable development

    i. The problem of scale

    ii. The problem of externalities

    1. Externalities and free riders

    2. Efficient Externalities E.g., Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo

    iii. Qualitative as opposed to Quantitative Analysis

    1. The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) v. GDP

    10. The international response to trans-boundary air pollution a. The Convention on Long-range Trans-boundary Air Pollution (1979) b. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1999)

    i. CFCs

    c. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming (1994)

    i. Cooperating nations agreed to share information on greenhouse gas emissions

    ii. Cooperating nations agreed to provide financial and technological support to developing countries

    11. Ozone Depletion and the Montreal Protocol

    12. Freshwater Resources/Hazardous Chemicals, Wastes and Materials a. International Trade

    b. Persistent Organic Pollutants

    c. The international response to water pollution

    i. The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter

    1. Sequestration of CO 2

    13. Wildlife and Biodiversity/Protection of the Habitat



    a. The Convention on Biological Diversity

    b. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

    c. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

    14. Impacts of International Environmental Law on International Trade and Investment

    a. WTO

    15. Environmental Protection and World Finance

    a. The IMF

    b. The World Bank

    16. Human Rights and the Environment

    a. Labor rights and a living wage

    17. International Corporate Standards

    18. National Security, the Law of War, and Environmental Protection

    19. The Extra-territorial Application of Domestic Law

GRADING: The following describes the method of computing the final grade for this course: Sample

    Class Participation 20% of final grade Grade:

     Refer to Rules and Regulations 100 x .2 = 20

    Final Exam 50% of final grade

    1 exam at 50% 90 x .5 = 45

    Research Paper 30% of final grade

     Refer to Research Paper Rubric 100 x .3 = +30


    REQUIRED MEDIA: For this class there will be no required text; an outline of the course materials will be available before each class


    FINAL EXAM MAKE-UP POLICY: The final exam cannot be made up. If you fail to appear to take the exam, you will receive a 0 on the final exam.

    TYPED ASSIGNMENTS: All assignments will be typed in English. Any assignment that is not typed and/or not in English will receive a 0. Please review the attached research paper rubric for grading details.




    1. Attire … You are expected to dress in professional collegiate attire. Sandals and sleepwear are not permitted.

    2. Cell phones … The use of cell phones is not permitted during class for any purpose. Please keep your cell phone off during class.

    3. Food … The consumption of food and drink is prohibited during classroom sessions. If you wish to eat or drink, you may excuse yourself

    from class during the 10 minute intermission period to do so.

    4. Children … Your children and/or parents are not permitted to attend class with you or to observe class.

    5. Plaigarism … Plaigairism will not be tolerated. If your paper is found to be plaigairized, you will receive a 0 on that assignment. Please

    see the attached guide to learn how to avoid plaigairism.

    6. Attendance … Attendance to each class is mandatory. You may not arrive late and you may not leave early. You may excuse yourself

    from class during the 10 minute intermission period but are expected to return to your seat promptly at the end of intermission.

CLASS PARTICIPATION: Your participation grade comprises 20% of your overall final grade. The primary delivery method in this class will

    be lecture, with a low to moderate amount of the Socratic Method. The Socratic Method involves the professor asking the student a series of

    questions about the course materials. Exposure to the Socratic Method will prove to be helpful as preparation for graduate coursework. As

    members of this class, you are required to participate actively and often in the topics raised by the instructor and the students.

Any violations of classroom etiquette will result in a penalty in regards to your classroom participation grade.


    Assignment Overview

For this assessment, you will demonstrate your research and writing skills for the purpose of illustrating your understanding of the process of

    the creation, execution, and adjudication of international law relative to an issue of environmental law of your choice. You must also address the concepts of customary law and international practice, the existence of any international agreements relevant to your chosen topic. For this paper assignment, I am asking you to pick a particular issue in which you have a very strong opinion or position, and research it. In particular, please



    discuss an issue involving the legal system, the legal actors, or the legal process. Once you have a clearly defined issue, you are required to write a thesis statement. A thesis statement is your stated belief about the issue that you address in your paper. The following URLs should provide guidance on how to write a proper thesis statement:


    Your thesis should be backed up by scholarly research (preferably peer-reviewed journals) and the data that you use in your paper that you are getting from those sources should be properly attributed to those sources using APA format. The use of five (5) peer-reviewed journal articles is recommended for this section.

    Please use the following research guides to help you to engage in your scholarly research:

    Please use the following website for guidance in the proper use of APA formatting:

    The body of your work should include a unifying narrative, a story from a court case (the International Court of Justice) that dealt with the issue that you are writing about and whose narrative provides at least some evidence of the validity of your thesis statement. While cases more recent than 1990 are preferred, you may use ANY court case as a guide to answering the content questions listed on the following page. Research

    outside of reading about cases may be necessary to answer each of the content questions.

Please use the following resource to research Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders:

    The conclusion of your work should restate your thesis and summarize your research data and the relevant facts from the case that you cited that supports the validity of your thesis statement. Lastly, you should persuade your readers that the data from your research and from the case that you cited that detracts from your thesis statement is less valid than that which supports it by providing a rationale for it to be more valid and/or for the data that undermines your thesis statement to be less valid.



    Suggested Format

    Page 1 (1-3 pages) the Introduction

    ; Inform your readers of your topic and clearly state your thesis statement. ; Describe and cite research that supports and detracts from, i.e., undermines your thesis statement.

    Page 2, 3, or 4 (3-5 pages) the Body

    ; Tell the story of the case that you researched.

    ; Answer the content questions on the following page, using the case that you are analyzing as a guide.

    o Please answer the content questions in the order provided and submit your opinions in sentence and paragraph form.

    Page 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 (1-3 pages) the Conclusion

    ; Repeat your thesis statement.

    ; Summarize your research data and the relevant facts from the case(s) that you cited that validates your thesis

    ; Persuade your reader(s) why the data from both your research and from the case that you cited that undermines your thesis has less validity

    than the data that supports your thesis.

Research Paper 50 points

Choose a Topic/Issue DUE: Week # 10 ( 11 / 7 )

    Choose a Thesis Statement DUE: Week # 11 ( 11 / 14 )

    Research Synopsis Due DUE: Week # 12 ( 11 / 21 )

    Rough Draft Due DUE: Week # 13 ( 11 / 28 )

    Final Draft DUE: Week # 14 ( 12 / 5 )

CONTENT: 30 points

    Your paper should answer the following questions.

    What customary law or international practice exists on this issue? 6 points What treaties exist on this issue? 6 points

    What NGOs exist that advocate for change in regards to this issue? 6 points Which UN commissions exist to enforce changes in regards to this issue? 6 points Which international courts exist to adjudicate change on this issue, if any? 6 points

FORMATTING: 15 points






    ( 3 POINTS ) ( 2 POINTS ) ( 1 POINT ) ( 0 POINTS )

     Sentences are well-phrased Sentences are well-phrased Some sentences are Errors in sentence

     and varied in length and and there is some variety awkwardly constructed to structure are frequent SENTENCE structure; they flow in length and structure; the the point that the reader is enough to be a major STRUCTURE smoothly from one to flow from sentence to occasionally distracted distraction to the reader

    another sentence is generally


     Word choice is Word choice is generally Word choice is merely Many words are used

     consistently precise and good; the writer often goes adequate; the range of inappropriately to the WORD CHOICE accurate beyond the generic word words used is limited and point of confusing the

    to find one more precise some of the words are reader

    and effective used inappropriately

     The writing is free or There are occasional errors The writing has many Sufficient errors exist such

    GRAMMAR, SPELLING, almost free of errors but they do not represent a errors and the reader is that the meaning of the AND WRITING major distraction or distracted by them paper is obscured MECHANICS obscure the meaning of the

    words used in the writing

     Compelling evidence from Professionally legitimate Although attributions are References are seldom or

     professionally legitimate sources that support occasionally given, many never cited to support

     sources is given to support claims are generally statements seem statements.

    USE OF REFERENCES the claims made in the present and attribution is unsubstantiated; the

    research paper. for the most part clear and reader is confused about

    Attribution of the research fairly represented the source of information

    to the researcher is clear and ideas

     References are primarily Although most of the Most of the references are There are virtually no

     peer-reviewed references are from sources that are not sources which are QUALITY OF professional journals or professionally legitimate, a peer-reviewed and have professionally reliable; the REFERENCES other approved sources few are questionable (e.g., uncertain reliability. The reader doubts the value of

    (e.g., government trade books, internet reader doubts the accuracy the material and stops

    documents) sources, pop. magazines) of the material presented. reading.


Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email