Environmental problems are international, often global, in scope. Oceans, aquifers, watercourses, and, of course, the atmosphere are not restricted by political boundaries; pollution crosses easily from one state to another. Resource depletion may harm the interests of all states, as in the case of fisheries. Loss of biodiversity and wildlife habitat, even when it occurs entirely within the boundaries of a single state, affects the interests of all of the world's peoples. This course serves as an introduction to international environmental law. The course will give an overview of several areas of conventional and customary law affecting the international environment, including international environmental agreements and "soft law" documents, the role of international organizations, the practice of states, and, where appropriate, U.S. law. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction between domestic and international environmental laws, and to the ways in which the legal process has solved (or failed to solve) international environmental problems.
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