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Law of the Sea Perspectives on Climate Change

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

AbstractThe Law of the Sea Convention was negotiated at a time when climate change was not yet part of the international environmental agenda. Nevertheless, it is not a static or immutable legal regime and it is not difficult to apply Part XII to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change insofar as they affect the marine environment. However, it is doubtful whether viewing climate change from the perspective of the law of the marine environment greatly alters the overall picture. At best it provides a vehicle for compulsory dispute settlement notably lacking in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regime. Realistically, while the 1982 Convention may import any newly agreed standards for the control of GHGs, it is not a substitute for further agreement within the UNFCCC framework.

Affiliations: 1: School of Law, University of Edinburgh Edinburgh Essex Court Chambers London UK, URL:


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