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Environmental Law, International

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Chapter Summary

Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992 (Environmental Protection) at the latest, states must be aware that severe global environmental problems, such as climate change, the marine living resources threatened with extinction, the degradation of tropical forests and the growing desertification, are endangering our whole ecosystem. It was only within the last 30 years that international environmental law developed to a separate realm of international public law. It comprises all norms of international law to which states and international organizations dealing with environmental affairs are bound. Among these norms are in particular international treaties, international customary law and general principles of law. The important step in the development of international environmental law was the famous arbitral award in the Trail Smelter case of 1941.

Keywords: international customary law; international environmental law; Trail Smelter case; UN



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