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International Environmental Law

Fall Semester, 2005
Prof. Errol Meidinger
eemeid@buffalo.edu
http://www.law.buffalo.edu/eemeid

Course Overview

This course introduces the primary legal concepts, structures, and processes used to address environmental problems across international boundaries. Because international environmental law is a highly diverse and rapidly developing field, the course is a selective examination of certain areas with the goal of enabling students to understand the main ways in which transnational environmental problems are addressed. Among the areas likely to be discussed are species and biodiversity protection, trans-boundary water pollution, climate change, hazardous waste transport, and human rights-environment and international trade-environment interactions. Institutional mechanisms considered include treaties and conventions, decisions by international and national tribunals, customary standards, and environmental standards developed by non-governmental organizations and business groups.

Papers

Students in the course will prepare research papers on topics of their choice with instructor consultation and approval. Papers should (1) focus on a specific problem area or field in international environmental law, (2) describe the environmental, organizational, and legal challenges posed by that area, (3) describe the legal regime that currently exists in the area, (4) assess its effectivenes and capacity to handle the challenges, and (5) discuss possible strategies for improving the state of the law. Initial topic proposals are due Tuesday, September 20. Preliminary papers will be presented during the last few weeks of the course. Final written papers are due no later than the last day of exams.

A list of typical topic areas in International Environmental Law follows. These topics are to be taken as suggestive and illustrative, not exhaustive, of possible papers. Students are free to pursue any relevant and feasible topic.

  • Acid Rain and Other Transboundary Air Pollution
  • Antarctica 
  • Climate Change
  • Endangered Species and Biodiversity
  • Food and Agriculture 
  • Forestry
  • Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Human Rights and the Environment
  • Hazardous Waste and Toxic Chemical Export
  • International Financial Institutions and Environment
  • International Groundwater
  • International Surface Waters
  • Marine Pollution
  • Marine Resources and Fisheries
  • Multinational Corporations
  • Nuclear Materials and Accident Regulation
  • Oil and Gas
  • Ozone Depletion
  • Population and Environment
  • Trade and Environment
  • Wetlands

Preliminary Syllabus
The following is a preliminary syllabus which will be filled in and changed as the course proceeds. The text for the course is David Hunter, James Salzman, and Durwood Zaelke, International Environmental Law and Policy, 2nd Ed., Foundation Press, 2002. You will not be required to purchase a supplementary compendium of documents, but you should make it a habit to find copies of important international environmental law documents relevant to your research. A great many of them are now available on the internet.

Date

Topic

Assignment

Experts

9/6

Guiding Concepts of IEL

166-216

None

9/7

Search for Paper Topics

9/13

Traditional Sources
Treaties Powerpoint
Sources of Principles Powerpoint
Discuss Possible Topics

273-336

Team 1

9/15

SD as a Legal Principle

336-349

Team 2

9/20

“Soft Law” and International Consensus
Report Preliminary Choice of Paper Topic

349-370

Team 3

9/22

Principles of IEL, Part 1

371-404

Team 4

9/27

Principles of IEL, Part 2

404-438

Team 1

9/29

Introduction to Transboundary Air Pollution

497-526

Team 2

10/6 Climate Change, Part 1
Powerpoint
589-624
Andy, Babak, Danielle, Jenny
10/11 Climate Change , Part 2
625-653
Danielle, James, Jenny, Karla
10/18 Marine Environment
654-690
Andy, Ashley, Han-Kuo, Steven
10/20 Hazardous Wastes
830-865
James, Dennis, Elsa, Georgia,
10/25

Biodiversity
Written Progress Reports Due

909-964
Karen, Nicole, Steven, Han-Kuo
10/27 Trade and Environment
1125-1177
Ashley, Elsa, Jenelle, Karla
11/1 Human Rights and Environment
1280-1317
Babak, Karen, Nicole, Nikki
11/3 Work on Papers  
11/8 Work on Papers  
11/10 Work on Papers  
11/15 Work on Papers  
11/17 Presentations
Karla, Dennis, Ashley, Nikki
11/22 Presentations
Karen, Babak, Nicole, Jenelle
11/29 Presentations
Steven, Georgia, HanKuo, James
12/1 Presentations
Elsa, Andy, Jenny, Danielle

12/6

Finalize Papers

 


Team 1
Karla Braun-Kolbe
Jenelle Callender
Jenny Chang
Steven Clark


Team 2
Nikki Dragone
Andrew Guglielmi
Georgia Hancock
Dennis Harlow


Team 3
James Mahoney
Babak Mohassel
Nicole Parshall
Danielle Parsons


Team 4
Ashley Priscott
Karen Riedesel
Elsa Schmidt
Han-Kuo Yang

 
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