Yearbook of International Environmental Law - Vol. 4

Yearbook of International Environmental Law - Vol. 4

Yearbook of International Environmental Law - Vol. 4

Yearbook of International Environmental Law - Vol. 4

Excerpt

Physical transboundary effects in the form of transfrontier pollution of water and air have figured in international environmental law since its beginnings. Transboundary effects, however, are not only caused by the physical movement of noxious substances through the environment, i.e. air and water, but also by many kinds of international economic activities. Despite the many instruments that address physical transboundary effects, these indirect effects remain a problem. Meanwhile, the intensified use of natural resources, the accumulation of existing burdens on the environment, and new dimensions of transfrontier pollution, identified through advances in the sciences, are causes of growing concern. Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, four years after the adoption of the Basel Convention, are still a problem. There are new legal developments in this field, but the thorny issue of the export of hazardous technology, is far from solved. The use of gene technology for research or in practical application, which would not be admissible in some of the countries where it was developed remains a problem to be addressed by the international community.

These developments highlight the interrelationship between international economic transactions and environmental concerns. To the extent that international legal rules foster economic transactions, the impact those transactions may have on environmental concerns or, vice versa, the effect environmental rules may have on those transactions leads to the question of the environmentalization of international trade law, an element in the internationalization of environmental policy generally.

International trade law, however, is not the only traditional policy area experiencing a "greening." Another very different example is the law relating to military activities (in war and peace), where environmental concerns are increasingly considered an international legal yardstick for such activities.

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