Human action and the law – implications for environmental policy
Authors: Arild Vatn
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to discuss the importance of the law as a way to change environmental action through: a) clarifying the historical role of the law in environmental policy; b) discussing different interpretations of the way the law influences human action, and c) clarifying the role of the law regarding the present ‘turn to the market’ in environmental policy. The main emphasis is on b) and c). Regarding b) I elaborate on two different interpretations – i.e., understanding the law in cost-benefit/calculative versus deontological terms. Research points towards the latter being very impor¬tant for making the law function effectively. Regarding c) it is observed that the law is crucial for making the ‘the turn to the market’ effective. Hence, there is a potential conflict here as the market supports the cost-benefit logic. This conflict is analyzed both theoretically and using data from various markets for environmental services.
Developing EU nature conservation law for green economy
Authors: Suvi Borgström
Abstract: This paper contributes to the discussion on developing regulatory frameworks to provide enabling conditions for green economy. The context of this study is EU nature conservation law. The paper focuses on assessing legal instruments, rules and principles as well as underlying values of EU nature conservation law from the perspective of green economy. The analysis reveals whether the legal support needed to deliver green economy in the context of biodiversity conservation can be achieved through incremental changes at the surface level of law, or if more or less radical rethinking of underlying principles, concepts and values of nature conservation law is needed. As a conclusion the paper proposes utilization of wider array of legal techniques, re-interpretation of strict provisions of Habitats and Birds Directives, and development of legal principle(s) to provide guidance on how to improve legislation and interpretation of legal rules in order to provide foundation for green economy.
European Union and United States environmental laws and the ecosystem services framework
Authors: Claas Meyer, Bettina Matzdorf
Abstract: The paper shows if certain ideas related to the ecosystem services framework could be found in existing US and EU environmental policies, as e.g. a focus on ecosystem capacity, the identification of social values and benefits, and the consideration of trade-offs among different environmental objectives. Basically, we analysed the main water and biodiversity acts. In particular, we looked at the US National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), the US Federal Water Pollution Control Act (CWA), the EU Directive on the conservation of wild birds (BirdsD), the EU Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora (HabitatsD), and the EU directive for establishing a framework for community action in the field of water policy (WFD). To interpret the legal documents, we asked if the conditions of an ES-driven policy could be subsumed under environmental laws. The law analysis was complemented by qualitative interviews. The interpretation of the major water and biodiversity acts showed that only some terms and ideas of existing environmental law correspond to ES framework related ideas. We argue that the existing design of the law is rooted in different histories and targets of the various policies. We discuss how a focus on the ES framework could influence environmental law development and application.
The contribution of legal institutions to achieving a sustainable development
Authors: Volker Mauerhofer
Abstract: This paper aims firstly to provide a conceptual overview on the two main objectives of international environmental law that should be addressed when modifying it and subordinated law in a more sustainable direction. This first aim is addressed based on ongoing research on ‘3‐D Sustainability’, a concept providing decision‐making support for priority setting between environmental, social and economic dimensions within sustainable development. The two main objectives identified within this aim are to stay by means of international environmental law within the ecologically sustainable scale and to legally define flexible trade‐off mechanisms, which in a more sustainable way deal with conflicts among the three sustainability dimensions. Secondly, the paper strives to identify ways to further strengthen the application of the existing international law in this respect. Thus, several innovative mechanisms within international law are identified that overcome current implementation deadlocks, without necessarily changing the existing law.