Friend or foe? International environmental law and its structural complicity in the Anthropocene’s climate injustices

Authors

  • Louis J. Kotzé North West University
  • Louise Du Toit Stellenbosch University
  • Duncan French Lincoln University

Keywords:

International environmental law, Anthropocene, climate change, climate injustice, Derecho ambiental internacional, Antropoceno, cambio climático, injusticia climática

Abstract

In this paper, we focus on the structural complicity of international environmental law (IEL) in causing and exacerbating climate injustices. We aim to show that although the intentions behind IEL may be well-meaning, it often inadvertently, but also deliberately at times, plays a role in creating, sustaining and exacerbating the many paradigms that drive climate injustice in the Anthropocene. We focus on three aspects: IEL’s neoliberal anthropocentrism; its entanglement with (neo)colonialism; and its entrenchment of the sovereign right to exploit energy resources. We conclude with a call for thoroughgoing, and urgent, reform of IEL.

En este artículo, nos centramos en la complicidad estructural del derecho ambiental internacional (DAI) en el origen y la exacerbación de injusticias climáticas. Pretendemos mostrar que, pese a que las intenciones detrás del DAI puedan ser buenas, frecuentemente de forma inadvertida, pero a veces también deliberadamente, desempeña un papel en el origen, el mantenimiento y el agravamiento de muchos paradigmas que dirigen la injusticia climática en el Antropoceno. Nos centramos en tres aspectos: el antropocentrismo neoliberal del DAI; su implicación con el (neo)colonialismo; y su reforzamiento del derecho soberano a explotar recursos energéticos. Concluimos con una llamada a una reforma integral y urgente del DAI.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1140

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Published

20-01-2020

How to Cite

Kotzé, L. J., Du Toit, L. and French, D. (2020) “Friend or foe? International environmental law and its structural complicity in the Anthropocene’s climate injustices”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 11(1), pp. 180–206. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/1213 (Accessed: 5 December 2021).