The case for the Environmental Court:

Dear activists, esteemed delegates, panelists and participants,

”The promotion, development and determination of international Environmental Law is based on the recognition that the principal causes and effects of the world’s major environmental problems are international in nature and so require solutions which are also international and based on an equitable sense of Justice for all.

Environmental Cooperation among the nations of this earth and the multinational institutions, can only be achieved if there is an inherent Justice in the centre of any response and a high regard for human rights as the overriding concern and main principle of the global response to Climate Change.”

 Pano Kroko.  Chairman – Environmental Parliament COP15 and going on COP16 ad infinitum…

Treaties, and agreements and rounds of negotiated settlements related to the Environment and Climate Change, must have a proper venue and a way for adjudicating the differences, arbitrating disputes and delivering justice and a constant defense of human rights.

Therein lays the need for an Environmental Court.

Anthony Giddens said that the current imbalance between global interdependence and global inter-governance led him to support the view that a new institution, namely an Environment Court is required, to enforce international environmental treaties.

Today it is the United Nations that acts like a Legislative Body in this set of agreements with the Executive branch being all the individual countries’ governments acting uniquely and collectively.

Whether as a single national entity or within multinational alliances and trade blocks and as a part of a regional system – nation states execute their own self determining policies.

And today it is still the UN that sits in judgment even though its key members have a veto power over any and all issues. An obvious conflict of interest when open Justice is needed.

The UN is heavily polarized and its services burdened. Unfettered and blind justice cannot be delivered by the UN for the environment as hasn’t been delivered for other lesser issues of national security and wartime conflicts or sovereignty disputes. The UN proper with its exclusive and self serving – Veto powers enhanced – Security Council cannot act as a court for the Environment. Because these five members of the Security Council all have many client states and the power of Veto to thwart discussion, let alone decisions they simply don’t like.

The necessary Justice acceptable to the ones most vulnerable to the whims of the mighty ones (Usually the most responsible ones) could never get delivered this way.

Still the Security Council acts today like the last court of Appeal and as the Supreme Court in these International disputes without neither a mandate nor a brief to resolve any of these.

Further, it is the triangulation and the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers into three poles of equilibrium and equitable powers that allows a functioning global balance to succeed in helping sort out the Human Rights issues and Justice stemming out of a warming and changing Climate and the stresses human and anthropogenic effects place on the Environment.

The Environmental Parliament has started the Environmental Court as an international body of law, administration and resolution of disputes and arbitration; similar to the International Court of Justice in Hague; to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment, climate and attendant human rights and justice.

Multiple and often conflicting actions by governments to create, negotiate and agree on treaties that reduce environmental damage and climate change, should be underpinned by an established, mandated court that provides access to justice in cases where biosphere, biodiversity, agriculture, fresh water access, habitats, livelihoods and health have been impaired.

Environmental degradation, Climate change adaptation and mitigation, financial obligations stemming from the ones most responsible to the ones most vulnerable, treaty adjudication, corporate arbitration and international as well as intranational conflict resolution stemming from shared resources and environmental agreement enforcement and the  climate forcings are a new area of the law. Because of this, a new institution is needed.

The Environmental Court would exclusively sit, listen and adjudicate disputes arising out of the United Nations environmental treaties. Treaties like the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Framework Convention on Climate Change (circa 1992).

As a matter of fact the first role of the Environmental Court as the  new body of Law administration and dispute resolution, would be to focus on maintaining the voluntary arbitration of issues facing us from the observance – or not – of the Kyoto protocol principles and the behavior of its participants. Secondly it is to strengthen, the successor agreements by focusing on voluntary arbitration, and enforcement of the international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions agreed upon by the nations, signatories of the Copenhagen Accord effected last December and being collectively signed on this year.

But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the “right to a healthy environment”.

It will also hear cases of Geo Engineering and Climate Engineering and decide the parameters that such experiments and potentially hostile to some people actions can be enjoyed or prevented. This based on need, demand and scientific merit alone and in an effort to protect the Peace of the global community.

First it was the Environmental Parliament that agreed to examine the concept and held meetings on the merits and demerits of the idea in 2007. And in the 2008 year the decision was taken to start the process. The innovative idea for the EC was presented first to an audience of politicians, scientists and public figures for the first time at a symposium at the British Library and then at the London School of Economics in 2007 and in 2008 respectively.

The Environmental Parliament held a series of meetings at the Old Building and in the Founders Room at the Shaw library of the London School of Economics over a space of a year to fine tune the details and objectives of an Environmental Court. A British High Court judge said that the threat of climate change means it is more important than ever for the law to protect the environment.

The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last year, led to a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The signatories to the Copenhagen Accord are now almost 90 countries and rising. Developed countries are expected to commit to cutting emissions drastically, while developing countries agree to halt deforestation and although this isn’t yet a legally binding treaty, the end result is a legal agreement far stronger than Kyoto or even the STAR treaties.

Gordon Brown, the UK’s Prime Minister, has agreed to the creation of an Environmental Court and it will be taken into account when considering how to make these international agreements on climate change, as binding and legal treaties. The Environmental Court is also backed by a number of English MPs, climate change experts and public figures and climate campaign organizations and activists in both the United Kingdom and abroad.

A pre-agreed tariff of sanctions and penalties imposed by any Environmental Court would assist consensus where the court found that compensation should be levied. And, as the case might be, if an NGO would seek to establish that a government had breached environmental law – only the Environmental Court could call (and be heard) for an explanation – and eventually it could adjudicate the dispute.

An Environmental court will be needed to enforce and regulate any agreement. The time is now ripe to set this up and get it going. Its remit will be overall climate change and the need for better regulation of carbon emissions but at the same time the implementation and enforcement of international environmental agreements and instruments.

”As well as providing resolution between states, the court will also be useful for multinational businesses in ensuring environmental laws are kept to in every country. The court would include a convention on the right to a healthy environment and provide a higher body for individuals or non-governmental organizations to protest against an environmental injustice.”

The court may be able to fine businesses or states but its main role will be in making “declaratory rulings” that influence and embarrass countries into upholding the law.

Of course regulations and sanctions alone cannot deliver a global solution to problems of climate change, but without such components the incentive for individual countries to address those problems – and to achieve solutions that are politically acceptable within their own jurisdictions – will be much reduced.

The court would be led by experienced judges, climate change expert scientists and publicly acceptable Environmental thinkers from all of the world’s community. Its veracity will be tested with people from all nations represented within. It would also include a world consultative scientific body to consider evidence and provide access to any data on the environment, similarly made up of people from all nations. Any country that signs on to it will be represented.

Most importantly, an environment court would influence public opinion which in turn would force Governments to take the environment seriously.

”After all, if there are legal Environment Court bodies around that can give definitive legal rulings that are accepted as fair and reasonable; that has its own impact on public opinion” Mr Brown said.

Also many NGOs and civil society organizations and chapters of Greenpeace, EP, Climate Camp, Friends of the Earth and many others.

This as well as the many country leaders like Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the President of the European Council , Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and President Evo Morales and  others welcomed the idea.

A spokesman for FoE said: “We think any institution that is going to promote and help people enforce their right to a clean and healthy environment is a good thing.”

UN COP OUT?

The UN has been a constant scene of inability to deal with the vast Climate Issues.

COP15 was a total Cop out

Global skepticism and fears of unilateral climate engineering is growing.

Need for an institution to address these is eminent.

Geo Engineering is opening up wide the Pandora’s Box for all winds and ghosts to come hurtling out at us and our children.

Yet Geo engineering is where the people in power seem to be pointing their fingers at far more easily than they would administer a potentially lethal vaccine to their own child.

If one looks at such options more closely, all sorts of possible barriers begin to appear. I am at work on two publications that will explore the reasoning behind this more sanguine view of the world politics of Climate Engineering.

Geo Engineering types and the Nuclear lobby have re branded themselves as Climate Engineering. Hoping that the new name might obfuscate their track record of being the proponents of blowing up nuclear bombs in the atmosphere to stimulate nuclear winter as a method to prevent global warming.

They are the Dr Strangeloves of the: ”Head hurts – Cut head” garden variety of science pests. They are the fire and brimstone and nuclear bombs – kind of engineers – scientists with a huge dose of Asperger’s syndrome illness. So the Security Council or better yet the Environment Court  needs to look at those follies with a critical eye before it all goes out of control as it is poised to do so momentarily…

As to the Security Council, if a state wanted to appeal to that body in order to halt let’s say a Geo engineering effort – by a neighboring country that is harmful – it could do so. Assuming that the state initiating the Climate Engineering was a Security Council member, or was a client state of one, when push came to shove, that member would have a veto option. SO no decision would be even discussed let alone taken to bring the Geo Engineering perpetrator to justice. Because of that, I am sure nobody thinks that the UN’s Security Council offers much of a restraint for errant governments with extra nukes to burn up the atmosphere…

The more basic point is that international regimes like the UN Security Council are not quasi-governments designed to thwart the plans of the great powers; rather, they are created by those powers as structures within which they can bargain with each other. An efficient structure would include all the states with power over the actions in question; the voting rules would reflect the extant distribution of power, and members would have incentives to practice straight dealing.

That the lion shall lie down with the lamb or the meek inherit the Earth are neither likely results nor even agenda items – although there may be reasons to list them as such for appearances’ sake.

Or, alternatively, having the Security Council approve of the actions of the committee/commission that supposedly looks at things with a disinterested eye is another failed front. The defenses against Geo and Climate engineering would be even less effective since the climate engineering does not require hard decisions about the economics for the affected parties today. One of my reasons for coming back to the UN is that so many of the Geo-engineering, proponents and corporations and militaries or even Defense departments, that have gotten in this easy circus act, always bring up the unilateral/war scenarios that are likely to erupt for a variety of reasons. And knowing that the UN Security Council is a supportive mechanism of the great powers – they rest assured of indecision – and therefore no blocking action against their potentially very harmful or even devastating schemes.

And even with an Environmental Court, if another nation or NGO wanted to complain about the use of climate engineering, the Security Council would be the final authority. If there is time for sanctions for Serbia, there is time for something this important, if it should ever come up in the first place.

In setting up an international regime, it is often a good idea to make the formal legal structure match as closely as possible the relevant de facto power structures. The UN Security Council has some of the states that are likely to be major actors with regard to Climate Engineering {CE}, but it does not include others – Brazil, India, and Japan that could have Geo Engineering and Climate Engineering capacity but not the requisite says so at the UN. The rotating members broaden the base, but erratically. The Security Council vote weighting system is clearly very crude, and it may be poorly suited to many of the kinds of issues that might arise in managing Geo Engineering; further, the Security Council is a busy place. Do they have the agenda space for an issue like Climate Engineering? I think not. Finally, once something falls into the UN’s purview, can it be safely insulated from encroachment by the General Assembly? If it could not be, Climate Engineering, might become subject to the same lack of transparency that was evident at Bali and Copenhagen.

I think that, despite the UN’s patent defects, something useful might still be done under its aegis, or at least believe that UN involvement is inevitable. The UN procedures and its judgments may be right, but the above cited problems are major; therefore, if there is a way to avoid UN involvement, I suspect that doing so would offer a large upside for any Climate Justice administration. That so astute and practiced a diplomat as Ambassador Benedick urges this course of the Environment Court, reinforces my belief in it.

And following along the lines set forth by the Ambassador, there is already an internationally constituted and accepted body for such decision making. It is called the UN Security Council. It approves wars, sanctions against rogue nations like against S. Africa during apartheid, N. Korea, Iraq, Iran, Serbia, etc and it even mediates disputes occasionally.

The Security Council has a rotating membership that includes developing nations as well as permanent members with veto power, although its decisions are generally nearly unanimous. While imperfect, this process has facilitated our advance from the ruins of WWII in Europe and Asia, the Cold War and now the more complicated multi-player world of the 21st century.

I’m a big fan of the UN, and I see no need to reinvent the wheel, especially regarding a matter that would eventually wind up in their lap anyway. So for all those people hoping to make a career or a buck off “governance,” I suggest they visit the big building in NYC first and usefully explore it’s procedures and mechanisms.

Yet, I certainly learned a great deal both in the Environmental Parliament sessions and from the off-line conversations about the creation of an Environmental Court. The meetings clearly advanced the discussion of many of the key issues surrounding climate adjudication of disputes and environmental damages as well as Policy engineering. As at all such expert gatherings, one heard some very insightful things, and, one also heard some things that were very needed and valuable in implementation.

In my view, proposals to subject Climate and Environment treaties to some form of global-scale participatory democracy fall in the latter category. Versions of this idea were voiced at the conference and, even more stridently, by some outside it. Essentially, all these demands rest on the same logic.

Climate impacts everyone; so everyone should have a voice. No one would trust most Third World governments to defend the interests of their citizens; yet that is their role. And the same can be argued effectively for others more developed who are short sighted on the long tail of the Environment and Climate deficits. Because of that, some more direct means, must be found to assess the global general will.

FIRST EXAMPLE

China’s drought.

From the Bleeding Edge Blog: http://panokroko.wordpress.com

Yunnan – the most beautiful and lush area of China – experiences the worst drought in its history. The biodiversity is suffering with many amphibian species becoming extinct and even human settlements threatened and people migrating already out of it.

Still – Record temperatures, low rainfall, accelerated development and cloud seeding are all stresses to the neighboring countries even before they harness the water of the mighty Life giver Mekong River with the biggest dams in history. A regional war is feared as neighbouring countries are starved of water, with the dams retaining vast manmade lakes within China and the unforeseen drought. And even the Chinese attempts at Geo-engineering and cloud seeding are seen as harmful to Vietnam and all other neighboring and Mekong river sharing nations, as they’re claiming that China is effectively ‘stealing’ rainfall intended for their people too.

China in response to the drought has launched a massive weather modification operation. In a single week, the authorities fired over 10,000 silver nitrate shells and over 1,000 rockets into the clouds to induce rain, according to Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Meteorological Administration. As a form of Geo-engineering this cloud seeding technology has limited success. But having exploded upwards of one hundred thousand rockets against the skies [100K] in total, without discernible effect, the government utilizes an ever larger and constantly growing rocketry armory and constantly increasing the scale of its rockets and explosive firepower; fired towards the atmosphere. A new arms race against the skies has ensued with military munitions readily used as a Geo engineering methodology. When will they start exploding nukes is anybody’s guess…

The cloud seeding or natural precipitation might have been at work when short bursts of rain mitigated the problem in some areas, but the overall picture remains grim and the causes contentious.

On stretches of the Mekong River, water levels are at 100-year lows, spurring criticism from downstream nations that China’s hydro power expansion has siphoned off supplies that should be preserved for drinking water and fishing.

At the first hastily convened, summit this week, of the Mekong River Commission, which comprises Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the Chinese vice minister, Song Tao, insisted climate change rather than his country was to blame.

“Statistics show that the recent drought that hit the whole river basin is attributable to the extreme dry weather and the water level decline of the Mekong River has nothing to do with hydro power development,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has threatened China with war if necessary to ensure the undisturbed flow and normal levels of the Mekong River… vital for its survival.

Burma and Thailand haven’t even been invited by the Chinese leadership to the Mekong river management summit – causing added tensions – for those nations and their peoples.

And environment activists inside China say dams and other forms of accelerated development are taking an excessive ecological toll. “Dams and plantations are not to blame for the extreme weather, but they worsen the impact of the drought and the competition for water resources,” said Yang Yong, an explorer and geologist. “The government now realizes the problems and should reconsider its plans for water resource management.”

“In recent years, the focus of dam construction has been on power generation, but we have neglected the needs of flood prevention and irrigation,” said Wang Yongchen of Green Earth Volunteers.

The drought has also raised fresh doubts about the wisdom of China’s biggest hydro-engineering project, the South-North water diversion scheme, which is designed to channel billions of tonnes to arid northern cities such as Beijing and Tianjin.

This made sense while the south enjoyed more abundant water resources, but climatologists are now warning that north and south China could suffer simultaneous droughts.

The National Climate Centre estimates 10 downpours will be needed to alleviate the water shortage in the south. This is not forecast for at least another month.

With the prospect of prolonged dry spells in the future, Liu Ning, vice-minister of water resources, told local Yunnan and national Chinese media, that it may be necessary to move people from the most vulnerable areas.

“They can go to cities, or places with more water. If droughts continue for several more years, we think we can use the nation’spower to relocate them to other provinces.”

This fresh water management issue that involves six neighboring countries and a shared river will be a good test for the Environmental Court. If the parties agree to arbitrate and discuss this issue, before it arrives at the UN as an expression of hostilities, a lot of time can be gained and lives spared…

SECOND EXAMPLE

Geo engineering or Climate Engineering.

From the Bleeding Edge Blog: http://panokroko.wordpress.com

Here is a debate about a new branch of Earth Sciences Engineering called Geo-engineering or Climate Engineering, that threatens to bring a ”voluntary” or forced upon us all; nuclear winter in order to cool the atmosphere in a hurry. Literally the proposal is to explode nuclear warheads in the upper atmosphere to simulate and bring on a limited form of nuclear winter… is called plan B.

In the face of it as a last resort to Environmental extremes and a greenhouse warming climate – it appears to have some merits. But its demerits are far more serious and numerous than the eager beaver Geo engineers bother to think about. The Environmental Court is needed to manage this process.

Because today; who is going to decide on this Geo engineering nuclear explosion in the atmospheric Commons action as a right or wrong? What of the human Rights of the world’s population that does not wish to be subjected to Chernobyl level radiation and fallout for many years due to the Geo engineering schemes of the nations possessing nukes in the first place?

Bellow are some debate examples of the merits and demerits of Geo engineering and it’s attendant issues for or against deployment.

The proposed standard simply cannot be met through the offices of the United Nations alone.

Let’s play Devil’s advocate here for a minute…

The Geo engineering community wants to get free rein to play with our atmosphere at will.

And they have this to say:

Since Aristotle’s time, philosophers have been trying to identify the general will, often with untoward results, and this case is an especially daunting one. About 40 percent of the world’s population, mostly those in very poor countries, has not even heard of climate change; thus, insisting on proof of global informed consent as a precondition for testing Climate Engineering and Geo Engineering solutions; amounts to saying that Geo engineering can never be tested – doubtless the desired outcome for some, but not necessarily the one that best serves the interests of the people in whose names the demands are made.

Further, governments of the industrialized states have concrete obligations to their own peoples. The US constitution enjoins governments to promote the general welfare of the people, and the context is clearly a national one. A US official that allowed abstract notions of global informed consent to block action needed to protect Americans from harm would soon find himself out of a job – and rightly so.

Yet today the same goes for the Chinese Premiere and the Russian prime Minister etc…

At the same time, Post WW II history also makes clear that the United Nations and the powerful American lobbies, all else being equal, prefer to achieve their own ends in ways that further those of other nations. Then too, growing global interdependence acts to reinforce US interest in the wealth, stability, and welfare in other nations. This trend impels other open societies in the same direction. In effect, global trade, linked markets, and mobile populations broaden the definition of enlightened national self-interest.

However today this same view is shared and practiced by China and Russia as well as many others, keen to practice exceptionalism for its simply parochial, short term and selfish benefits.

And the counter argument to this:

All of the civil society organizations and those of You who have participated in the Conference of the parties (COP) whether in Bali or Copenhagen or Potsdam and Bonn – You would know – that Geo-engineering and the Climate Engineering isn’t well received by the NGOs and general civil society. It isn’t even discussed as a formal method of mitigation and adaptation for good reasons. Mainly because it lacks any legitimate consensus and also because it’s negative effects are far reaching – and through the laws of unintended consequences – Climate Engineering always causes grievous health harm to many more people than it purports to help…

Case in point is the debate about Climate Engineering and the insistence of Geoengineeers that they have magic bullets to solve all of Earth’s problems, already causes governments to drag their feet.

Based on the mistaken belief and constant Plan B advertisement of the Magic bullets to solve all the warming climate problems with Geo engineering we are behind the schedule for stopping Greenhouse effects. Misinformed and over eager polluting country government leaders justify their policies of not taking any action to reduce Greenhouse gases from the atmosphere;  claiming – or even worse believing – that Geo engineering will solve the problem for them without their countries making any sacrifices…

As one can see from these acrimonious debate statements above the case for or against Geo engineering is one of gravity that needs to be decided in a court of Law. And both sides would agree that the Environmental Court is that institution.

The Future is an increasingly obscure Environmental Law vacuum. The need for the Environmental Court to apply existing bodies of law and interpret the needs of Justice and Human Rights is imminent and deafening.

Everyone’s in favour of the environment these days, even the Tories and the Republicans.

Yet the planet continues to suffer appalling degradation and biodiversity is being compromised at an alarming rate. Of course, some of this is due to natural causes, but most is anthropogenic and the result of the activities of humankind — whatever the climate change deniers might say. Yet at present there is no global mechanism to bring many of the worst ecological abusers to book (with certain exceptions such as oil spills), particularly if they are sovereign states and powerful multinational lobbies and global corporations.

Hence the need for an Environment Court, whose remit shall include arbitration of disputes and management of runaway Geo- Engineering issues.

CHALLENGES

There are two main challenges facing the Environmental Court in its infancy: One is how to produce an appropriate enforcement mechanism, and secondly, how to persuade governments to recognize an authority of international stature well above their own courts and national sovereignty.

Fortunately the Court of Human Rights in Hague has smoothed the road for such an institution ever since its creation. In 1995, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established.

Only 3 years later, in July 1998 – at a UN General Assembly in Rome – the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was signed.

By March 2009, more than half of the United Nations – 108 countries – had ratified the International Criminal Court. It is located in The Hague, Netherlands and it has heard many international cases and it has famously even brought to justice heads of state like Slobodan Milosevic for genocide and war crimes and several others for crimes against humanity. All that in fifteen short years.

OPPORTUNITIES

Many governments now recognise the need to show their electorates that they take environmental treaties seriously, and that EC willingness to facilitate best practice – through the creation of a scientific panel – would demonstrate a constructive approach, alongside the EC’s role as a juridical enforcer Societies throughout the world now know that, when it comes to environmental issues, we are at a tipping point. It is a good moment to approach governments to join the EC, and to get them to sign onto it. Overall, with human rights so much on the agenda, there is a big shift in governments’ consciousness. As a result, there is a desire to introduce compliance mechanisms.

SOLUTIONS

The Environmental Court will have to interpret all the existing environmental and climate treaties. And that alone is a huge effort.

WORKING MECHANISMS

Most centrally the EC would adopt a judicial review, and court of appeals role, initially. Such a step would help govern both domestic and transnational issues. In this way, the EC could function as a first port of call. Claimants could challenge the activities of commercial companies authorised by any state, and the actions of any state as it regulates companies as well.

Additionally funding mechanisms and the re-purposing of assistance aid, food aid and foreign direct aid, based on states environmental voting record is what the Swedes and Norwegians and the Germans started in order to force developing countries to follow their lead and vote to their liking in the UN forums such as Copenhagen’s COP15. This is a blatant case that should be reviewed by the Environment Court. Because that practice as well as the funding mechanisms for mitigation and adaptation funds established by treaties to aid developing economies should be judicially reviewed by the Environmental Court where they pertain to Climate Change, since they impose a vision that, currently, cannot be challenged. And this vision and application of treaties is rife with privateering ”gunboat diplomacy,” coercion, profiteering speculation and actual forcings by the major powers – regional and international – to obtain economic benefit, UN votes and curry favours, much like the practices of old. And an EC could be an arbiter of codes of practice, such as the Equator Principles, challenging them where necessary. Overall, national courts of every kind have a significant role to play as they elevate the disputes to the purest forms of law to be gleaned.

As an example a smart policy can be reviewed and examined before implementation by national partners of the court. Because wide reaching legislation as is the UK’s Climate Change Act needs to be reviewed independently. It is here where a government claims its legislation will solve a problem, and the claim should be thoroughly examined and found appropriately. Or where Geo engineering is involved. All the options can be examined and tested before anyone is allowed unilaterally to start nuking the atmosphere…

REASONING

Currently, there is a huge lack of transparency where governmental interference and even Geo engineering is concerned as is the case of the Mekong river basin drought and it’s aftereffects for peace and stability across six nations of SE Asia with disproportional water drawing rights and military power imbalances.

Differing options – including the role of tribunals, and arbitration – can establish the best route forward, offering states, NGOs, individuals and corporations a service. It is possible, with a tribunal operating initially by consent, and voluntary arbitration, to avoid the need for a treaty to get the Environment Court running.

The EC would need to harness and mobilize civil society opinion, principally through the media and activist organizations, NGOs and civil society.

Decisions made by the EC would be enforceable through sanctions – possibly including fines – and, along the lines of the EC Environmental Liability Directive (2004/35/EC) would include restoration and rehabilitation orders in relation to damaged habitats.

It is also envisaged that the ICE would have the power to make declarations of incompatibility in instances where signatory states’ legislation appears to conflict with UN environmental rules.

At present, the global Environment Court is just a division of the EP and is actively seeking a new home.  It will take an enlightened city to host this and it will one day be the HQ of an organization to rival the UN in global significance. Certainly it will be a far more powerful institution to settle Climate and Environment Disputes globally. But it will also provide the basic safeguards of justice away from the UN as being the balance of power away from the legislative powers of the United nations and away from the Executive Powers of each nation state. Urgently we would require an International Treaty to establish and ratify the Environmental Court and we can start with a resolution here in Cochabamba. One institution alone, the UN, cannot in a plurinational dispute both legislate the framework of laws and administer justice. There is an obvious conflict there. The Environmental Court brings the needed balance of powers. A triangular balance of power is needed in the global arena to be able to have fair and widely accepted results for the future of Humankind’s cradle that this earth’s environment and Climate represent.

Naturally in the early years, of the Environmental Court, many countries would doubtless be reluctant to sign up to it, as is already the case with the International Court of Justice in Hague. But as the usefulness of the Environmental Court becomes evident by the abuse being inflicted on the environment daily, and the diminishing global Commons; even the naysayers will be convinced of its usefulness.

IN CONCLUSION

WE NEED AN ENVIRONMENTAL COURT TO ARBITRATE AND ADJUDICATE ALL EXISTING INTERNATIONAL AND PLURINATIONAL LAWS RELATING TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE.

We need an Environmental Court to monitor and enforce, commitments made by nations for emission reductions based on the Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen Accord and to arbitrate the myriad of disputes to safeguard the Peace. Secondary is the need to bring some of the worst violators to justice and prevent abuses of the atmosphere and climate.

And third is the obvious need to make the Environmental Agreements the enforceable law of the land by the global community.

And that simple enough mission should not stop us from accepting the greater mantle, that is the need to balance the legislative UN powers and the national and corporate Executive might and accepted habits, with the need to judge what is acceptable to maintain a tolerably livable and sustainable planetary atmosphere.