Opinio Juris Book Discussion: “The Art and Craft of International Environmental Law,” by Daniel Bodansky

by Peggy McGuinness

Opinio Juris is pleased to be hosting this week a discussion of Professor Dan Bodansky’s new book, “The Art and Craft of International Environmental Law” (Harvard Univ. Press, 2010).  Dan is well known to our readers as a frequent guest blogger and commentator on international environmental law, a field in which he is one of the world’s leading scholars.  The book reflects Dan’s deep knowledge as a scholar of international law and jurisprudence and global environmental challenges.  But it also reflects Dan’s experience as a senior policy maker in international environmental issues.  As a result of Dan’s unique background, the book succeeds where many other scholarly treatises fail: It presents the theory, doctrine and politics of international law in a way that is lucid and accessible to non-expert lawyers and non-lawyers alike.  The clarity and cogency of his explanations and arguments for how international environmental law works (and doesn’t work), should convince all but the most hardened skeptics of international law about when, how, and why international legal tools should be deployed to address environmental problems.

Following Dan’s initial post outlining the main themes and claims of the book, we will hear from an impressive group of scholars who will provide critiques and responses to the book.  Our commentators for the week are Professors Peter Haas, Scott Barrett, David Freestone and Kal Raustiala.

Peter Haas is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  His work focuses on the effectiveness of international environmental regimes and global governance. He is the co-author of “Global Environmental Governance” (with James Gustave Speth) and has frequently served as a consultant on international environmental issues for the U.S. government and the UN.

Scott Barrett is the Lenfest Professor of Natural Resource Economics at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and the Earth Institute.  His work focuses on the role of international agreement in environmental policy, and he is the author of the 2007 book “Why Cooperate? The Incentive to Supply Global Public Goods,” and the 2003 book “Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making.”

David Freestone is the Lobingier Visiting Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence and the George Washington Law School.  Professor Freestone is retired from the World Bank where he served as senior adviser and deputy general counsel and for eight years as chief counsel and head of the Environment and International Law Group. Prior to his service at the World Bank, Professor Freestone taught international law the University of Hull. He is the author and editor of several leading works in international environmental and resource law, and recently co-edited “Legal Aspects of Carbon Trading:  Kyoto, Bali and Beyond.”

Kal Raustiala holds a joint appointment as a Professor at the UCLA School of Law and the UCLA International Institute.  He is also the Director of the UCLA Ronald Burkle Center for International Relations.   He has written widely on international cooperation and regime building, and his latest book, “Does the Constitution Follow the Flag?” was the subject of an Opinio Juris book discussion last summer.

We welcome Dan and this truly terrific group of scholars to Opinio Juris and look forward to an enlightening and stimulating conversation about Dan’s book.


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