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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.8 Precaution and Climate Change

Jonathan B. Wiener

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law

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

Subject(s):
Natural resources — Climate change — Environmental disputes — Pollution — Precautionary principle — Arbitration

This chapter examines the role of precaution as applied to climate change. Article 3 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) specifically calls for precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent, or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Because climate change poses uncertain but serious and even catastrophic risks, and because greenhouse gas emissions have latent and long-lasting effects which last over decades and even centuries, precautionary action is widely urged as essential to preventing future climate change—rather than waiting to act after the damage is done, when it is too late to address the cause. The chapter describes the key features of the Precautionary Principle (PP), and illustrates the advance of the PP across the terrain of national and international law and also the variation among its proliferating versions established by various scholars, such as Per Sandin, David VanderZwaag, and Christopher Stone.

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