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Chapter 30. Through the Back Door: The Limits of the UN Law of the Sea Convention’s Usefulness as a Tool to Combat Climate Change

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a critical review of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC)'s usefulness as a tool to combat climate change. It argues that while dynamic interpretation of the LOSC might allow for subsumption of greenhouse gas emissions under the Convention's marine pollution provisions, procedural as well as substantive obstacles prevent the LOSC from providing a panacea to States' unwillingness to deal with the problem of anthropogenic climate change. After a brief overview of the impacts that climate change has on the oceans, the chapter analyses the legal basis for treating climate change as an issue under the LOSC. It then discusses procedural and substantive problems caused by the coexistence of LOSC and climate regime, and by the attempt to apply the law of State responsibility to climate change. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the potential outcome and benefits of a successful lawsuit.

Keywords: climate change impacts; combat climate change; Convention's marine pollution provisions; marine pollution; state responsibility



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