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International law and ecological debt

Author: Antoni Pigrau, Susana Borràs, Antonio Cardesa-Salzmann, Jordi Jaria i Manzano (CEDAT-Universitat Rovira i Virgili), EJOLT (Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade), Published on: 31 January 2014

Under the paradigm of sustainable development, contemporary international law has not been able to shape an effective, nor an equitable, answer to the global ecological crisis...[C]orrection will require a profound reconceptualisation of global governance that is able to integrate counter-hegemonic claims for environmental justice. This report has four parts. The first...puts in context concepts...such as ecological and climate debt, against the backdrop of the legal narratives that underpin the hegemonic model of development. The second part presents a critique of the notion of sustainable development as a supposed paradigm for reconciling the needs of present and future generations with the preservation of the Earth’s ecosystems. The third part emphasises the potential of current international law to deal with the needs of intragenerational and intergenerational justice in relation to sustainability...[W]e argue that a reinterpretation and reconstruction of the current international order in terms of global constitutionalism and an enhanced human rights approach, offers a way to mitigate the present biases in international law...[T]he fourth part...outlin[es] some ideas...beyond the elements already present in current international law.

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