International Environmental Policy

Topics: United Nations, Government, Sovereign state Pages: 4 (1076 words) Published: December 5, 2005
International Environmental Policy

With globalization and today's constantly expanding global economy, many international environmental problems are global in scope, because environmental degradation comes from many different locations (for example global warming, which is a problem everyone contributes to and will someday have to bear the burden of). Governments are intended to represent citizens, so although most environmental problems are the result of individuals, people look to the government to fix environmental problems. Also, it proves to be more efficient to seek to solve international environmental problems with states and governmental policies. Thus, it has become the duty of states to try to find solutions for the ever increasing threats of these global environmental issues. One of the privileges governments enjoy is being the only administrative unit in control of its own territory, thus it has the unmitigated power to create and establish laws and policies among its citizens. "States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principal of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction." [~Principal 21 of the Stockholm Declaration] (Vig and Axelrod, 15).

However, when problems occur in areas that are outside the jurisdiction of a nation, states do not act to rectify them, as they are not their immediate responsibility. This includes both trans-boundary problems (such as acid rain) which affect areas outside of the polluting nation's domain, and global environmental problems (such as global warming) which affect the entire earth. Because these areas are beyond control of any government (as there is no absolute global government), states are likely to abuse...
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