International Environmental Law Publication date : August 30, 2012
Mario Bettati is a professor emeritus in international law at the University of Paris-I. A former adviser to Bernard Kouchner, with whom he promoted the ‘Right to humanitarian and environmental intervention’, he has taken part in negotiating and writing many international texts on environmental issues.
Over the past sixty years, environmental vulnerability has become a major concern for the international community. The growing number of major natural catastrophes — oil spills, nuclear and chemical accidents — has underlined the threat posed by human activities on the ecosystem and helped to mobilise an increasingly aware public.
How can environmental disasters be prevented? How and against whom should sanctions be applied? How to repair damages and compensate victims? These are some of the questions that led to the development of international environmental laws.
Major catastrophes have increased public awareness but other, less devastating, attacks on the natural environment continue to harm the planet — despite legal and State institutional responses, supported and observed by 700 associations (Greenpeace, WWF, etc.), but whose effectiveness continues to suffer from a lack of unity.
• An indispensable tool to understand international environmental law.