International law has become the key arena for protecting the global environment. Since the 1970s, literally hundreds of international treaties, protocols, conventions, and rules under customary law have been enacted to deal with such problems as global warming, biodiversity loss, and toxic pollution. Proponents of the legal approach to environmental protection have already achieved significant successes in such areas as saving endangered species, reducing pollution, and cleaning up whole regions, but skeptics point to ongoing environmental degradation to argue that international law is an ineffective tool for protecting the global environment.
In this book, Joseph DiMento reviews the record of international efforts to use law to make our planet more livable. He looks at how law has been used successfully—often in highly innovative ways—to influence the environmental actions of governments, multinational corporations, and individuals. And he also assesses the failures of international law in order to make policy recommendations that could increase the effectiveness of environmental law. He concludes that a "supranational model" is not the preferred way to influence the actions of sovereign nations and that international environmental law has been and must continue to be a laboratory to test approaches to lawmaking and implementation for the global community.