Principle 1: Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations ...
Principle 21: States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles 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.
Principle 22: States shall cooperate to develop further the international law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage caused by activities within the jurisdiction or control of such States to areas beyond their jurisdiction.
1. Hard Law
nb. interpretative declarations of Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu: '… signature of the Convention shall in no way constitute a renunciation of any rights under international law concerning state responsibility for the adverse effects of climate change and that no provisions in the Convention can be interpreted as derogating from the principles of general international law.'
Other international agreements
UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters ('the Aarhus Convention', 1998)
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, 1982). Since GHGs damage the marine environment directly (CO2 causes ocean acidification) and indirectly (via warming), they fall within the scope of UNCLOS provisions on pollution.
Convention on Civil Liability for Damage Resulting from Activities Dangerous to the Environment ('Lugano Convention 1993', Council of Europe, not in force)
2. Soft Law
Stockholm Declaration 1972 (from 1972 UN Conference on the Environment)
Resolution 2994 of the UN General Assembly noted the Stockholm Report 'with satisfaction'.
Rio Declaration 1992 (from 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development):
The UN General Assembly endorsed the Rio Declaration in December 1992.
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 27 July 2012 (following RIO +20 Summit):
Annex, Paragraph 15: We reaffirm all the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, including, inter alia, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities ...
Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015)
Model Laws and Principles
UNEP Draft Principles (1978)
Our Common Future, Annexe 1: Summary of Proposed Legal Principles for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Adopted by the WCED Experts Group on Environmental Law (From A/42/427. Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development), 1986.
Brigitte & Friedhelm Totz
Reasonable and Equitable Use
9. States shall use transboundary natural resources in a reasonable and equitable manner.
Prevention and Abatement
10. States shall prevent or abate any transboundary environmental interference which could cause or causes significant harm (but subject to certain exceptions provided for in #11 and #12 below).
11. States shall take all reasonable precautionary measures to limit the risk when carrying out or permitting certain dangerous but beneficial activities and shall ensure that compensation is provided should substantial transboundary harm occur even when the activities were not known to be harmful at the time they were undertaken.
UNCLOS Art 1(4): "pollution of the marine environment" means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment ... which results or is likely to result in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources and marine life, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities ...
Art 192: States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment.
Art 194(1): States shall take, individually or jointly as appropriate, all measures ... necessary to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from any source ...
Art 211(1): States ... shall establish international rules and standards to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from vessels ...
Art 234 ('Responsibility and Liability'): 1. States are responsible for the fulfilment of their international obligations concerning the protection and preservation of the marine environment. They shall be liable in accordance with international law.
2. States shall ensure that recourse is available in accordance with their legal systems for prompt and adequate compensation or other relief in respect of damage caused by pollution of the marine environment by natural or juridical persons under their jurisdiction.
3. With the objective of assuring prompt and adequate compensation in respect of all damage caused by pollution of the marine environment, States shall cooperate in the implementation of existing international law and the further development of international law relating to responsibility and liability for the assessment of and compensation for damage and the settlement of related disputes, as well as, where appropriate, development of criteria and procedures for payment of adequate compensation, such as compulsory insurance or compensation funds.
'Having regard to the desirability of providing for strict liability in the field taking into account the 'polluter pays' principle ...'
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.
13.a Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible
13.b Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalised communities.
14.3: Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.
LEGAL ACTION FOR THE CLIMATE GOAL: TOWARDS EQUITY, SURVIVAL AND THE RULE OF LAW
“PRESIDENT TRUMP MAY HAVE HIS ALTERNATIVE FACTS,
BUT ALTERNATIVE FACTS DO NOT WORK IN A COURTROOM”
Principle 12(2): 'States should co-operate to develop further international Law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of environmental damage arising out of the utilization of a shared natural resource and caused to areas beyond their jurisdiction.'
Principle 2: States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental and developmental 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.
Principle 7: In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit to sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command.
Principle 13: States shall develop national law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage. States shall also cooperate in an expeditious and more determined manner to develop further international law regarding liability and compensation for adverse effects of environmental damage caused by activities within their jurisdiction or control to areas beyond their jurisdiction.
Principle 14: States should effectively cooperate to discourage or prevent the relocation and transfer to other States of any activities and substances that cause severe environmental degradation or are found to be harmful to human health.
Principle 15: In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
Principle 16: National authorities should endeavour to promote the internalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and investment.
Legislation, Declarations and Model Laws
'Nearly a quarter of deadly armed conflicts in the countries with the most diverse ethnic makeups from 1980 to 2010 were found to have occurred at around the same time as an extreme weather event.'