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The Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law edited by Carlarne, Cinnamon P; Gray, Kevin R; Tarasofsky, Richard (24th March 2016)

Part III Climate Change—Principles and Emerging Norms Concepts in International Law, Ch.10 Common Concern of Humankind

Friedrich Soltau

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law

Edited By: Cinnamon P. Carlarne, Kevin R. Gray, Richard Tarasofsky

Subject(s):
Collective rights — Climate change — Environmental disputes — Pollution — United Nations (UN)

This chapter examines the various common concerns of humankind. The concept has found its most explicit reference in relation to climate change, in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the conservation of biological diversity in the Convention on Biological Diversity. It encompasses aspects of the global environment that, by virtue of their significance and the need for collective action to protect them, have been designated as common concern of humanity, either in treaties or through decisions of the United Nations General Assembly. The concept has, over the years, been the subject of considerable scholarship. Without delving into a discussion of customary law, this chapter proceeds on the basis that the common concern of humankind can reasonably be described as a principle of international environmental law against the interlinked backdrop of poverty eradication, economic development, energy availability and use, and climate change.

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