This background paper will pursue the question of whether and how international organizations and criminal law can help us deal effectively with transnational environmental crimes (TEC) and, more broadly, environmental injustice. The paper will also explore the question of whether the climate change justice agenda can benefit from the expanded pursuit of transnational environmental crime. Can international environmental law, refurbished, act as a mitigating factor in climate change? We conclude that while international legal instruments can help spur additional action, in themselves they will do little at this stage. We reach several conclusions: What is needed is a revitalized pursuit of TEC, which will have incidental benefits for the climate justice agenda, and the creation of new norms (de lege fereranda) to cope with the immense challenges posed by TEC. In the long run, a new international environmental court is optimal, but it will need a clear agenda and not a murky mission to stop all ecocide on the planet.
About the author
Dr. Peter J. Stoett’s is the Director of the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre and a Professor of International Relations at Concordia University in Montreal. His main areas of expertise include international relations and law, global environmental politics, and human rights. Prior to joining Concordia University in 1998 he taught at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Guelph, and the University of Waterloo. Dr. Stoett has written, co-written, and co-edited over ten books and over 50 peer reviewed articles, chapters in edited books, and occasional papers. He has conducted research in Europe (including the Balkans), eastern, southern and western Africa, central America, and Asia. From April to July 2013 he was an Erasmus Fellow and taught at the International Institute for Social Studies at the Hague, Netherlands. From January-June, 2012 he was the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Canadian-American Relations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Canada Institute, in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research on transborder environmental relations. He is also a Senior Research Fellow with the Europe-based Earth Systems Governance Project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), a member of the Canadian Association of the Club of Rome, and an Expert Member of the Commission on Education and Communication of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Professor Stoett has also taught senior graduate courses at the UN-mandated University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica (where he will teach in the spring of 2104) and the IMT Institute for Advanced Studies/Scuola di Dottorato, in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy; and has supervised theses and internship report work on a variety of topics, including international relations, humanitarian intervention, and environmental impact assessment. He also teaches an online course on Contemporary Issues in Global Politics and is currently developing another on Global Environmental Issues and Ecological Justice.He chaired the Department of Political Science from 2005-2011, and has sat on the Concordia Board of Governors, the Board’s Executive Committee, Senate, Senate Steering Committee, and other university governance bodies.