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Environmental law

Natural Resources Law

2018

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Polar Opposites: Assessing The State Of Environmental Law In The World’S Polar Regions, Mark Nevitt, Robert V. Percival Jan 2018

Polar Opposites: Assessing The State Of Environmental Law In The World’S Polar Regions, Mark Nevitt, Robert V. Percival

All Faculty Scholarship

Climate change is fundamentally transforming both the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions. Yet they differ dramatically in their governing legal regimes. For the past sixty years the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), a traditional “hard law” international law treaty system, effectively de-militarized the Antarctic region and halted competing sovereignty claims. In contrast, the Arctic region lacks a unifying Arctic treaty and is governed by the newer “soft law” global environmental law model embodied in the Arctic Council’s collaborative work. Now climate change is challenging this model. It is transforming the geography of both polar regions, breaking away massive ice sheets in …