International Law and Conventional Economy Lag Behind Environmental Crisis

FeniksTalk’s recent event examined the global environmental crisis from the perspectives of international law and local economies, underlining that diverse and comprehensive legal and economic policies should be applied to cope with climate change.
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FeniksPolitik organized its second in-house event titled “Two Images of Climate Change Policy: Perspectives on International Law and Domestic Political Economy”.

In the event, Mehmet Hecan, a PhD candidate in Political Economy at Boston University, and Usame Ceylan, an expert on international environmental law and a co-author of the book entitled “The Global Environment Outlook and Its Implications for International Law: Is Law Increasingly Falling Behind?”, presented their thoughts on climate change and the environmental crisis.

“We as a global community face the consequence of global climate change and it is happening faster than we feared. The recent drought as well as forest fires in Turkey and Greece are only some of the latest examples”, Ceylan said.

He went on to explain why international law is lagging behind environmental problems faced across the globe.

“First of all, environmental law scholars are generally mono-disciplinary. Lawyers do not often engage in deep analysis of the effectiveness of policy approaches and legal scholars do not often collaborate with non-legal scholars or transdisciplinary scholars”, Ceylan said.

He pointed to the lack of policy frameworks that encourage coherence between international environmental law and other bodies of law as the second reason why international law fails to adequately address climate change.

“Last but not least, international environmental law has little understanding of the role of gender and the role of local communities”, Ceylan continued.

“Similar dynamics of coordination and the need for coordination at the international level also apply at the domestic level,” Hecan said, going on to underline that different governments use different policies to cope with environmental crisis.

“Governments have to use different instruments to ensure that the transition from the conventional economy to a green economy is peaceful for everyone”, Hecan added.

Using “dirty” coal as an example, he argued that governmental policies should end the use of coal in the energy sector for environmental reasons while at the same time ensuring fairness and justice for coal workers, capital owners, and regions that depend primarily on coal for their energy needs.

“The green transition is a challenging issue. We have to deal with opposition from the conventional actors in the carbon intensive industries”, Hecan said.

The event took place on September 30 and was the second installment of FeniksTalk’s series on international politics and security. It was moderated by Mehmet Yegin, a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs and an editorial board member at FeniksPolitik.

This FeniksTalk event, “Two Images of Climate Change Policy: Perspectives on International Law and Domestic Political Economy”, can be listened to on Soundcloud.