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Justice for Future Generations

Climate Change and International Law Peter Lawrence, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania, Australia
Peter Lawrence’s Justice for Future Generations breaks new ground by using a multidisciplinary approach to tackle the issue of what ethical obligations current generations have towards future generations in addressing the threat of climate change. This insightful book draws on contemporary theories of justice to develop a number of principles which are used to critique the existing global climate change treaties. These principles are also used as a blueprint for suggestions on how to develop a much-needed global treaty on climate change. The approach is pragmatic in that the justice–ethics argument rests on widely shared values and is informed by the author’s extensive experience in the negotiation of global environmental treaties as an Australian diplomat.
Extent: 256 pp
Hardback Price: £80.00 Web: £72.00
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 978 0 85793 415 4
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: £19.95 Web: £15.96
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 78536 427 3
Availability: In Stock
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  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Law
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  • Law - Academic
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  • Politics and Public Policy
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Justice for Future Generations breaks new ground by discussing what ethical obligations current generations have towards future generations in addressing the threat of climate change and how such obligations should be embodied in international law.

Peter Lawrence uses an interdisciplinary approach, involving discourse theory, international relations theory, and philosophical concepts of ethics and justice to inform discussion of international law. Recent political science theories are used to show why the current global climate change treaties are so weak in addressing intergenerational justice concerns. The book draws on contemporary theories of justice to develop a number of principles used to critique the existing global climate change treaties. These principles are also used as a blueprint for suggestions on how to develop a much-needed global treaty on climate change. The approach is pragmatic in that the justice-ethics argument rests on widely shared values. Moreover, the book is informed by the author’s extensive experience in the negotiation of global environmental treaties as an Australian diplomat.

With its interdisciplinary approach and focus on intergenerational justice, this detailed study will be of particular interest to academics and policymakers in international environmental law and climate law, as well as to those in international law with an interest in ethics and justice issues.
‘This book is easy to read and follow, providing a solid foundation for understanding environmental law in an international law context. Justice for Future Generations: Climate Change an International Law is a must have for every law library's environmental law collection. I would also recommend this book to those who care deeply about the environment and sustainability issues for future generations.’
– Sharon Wang, Canadian Law Library Review

‘Human-induced climate change is the most fiendish legal and policy problem ever faced by humanity, and our very survival as a species hinges on whether we respond effectively to it. Those who will feel the most acute effects of climate change will be our future generations. In this groundbreaking work, Peter Lawrence sets out the case for addressing climate change today in order to safeguard the welfare of future generations. Lawrence explains that this is not just an imperative of morality, or of survival, but is in fact a mandate of justice. Drawing on a wide range of philosophical and jurisprudential thinking, Lawrence distils core principles of justice to animate our efforts to mitigate climate change. This is an immensely important work, that will have a significant influence on how societies and governments conceptualise and respond to the climate problem.’
– Timothy Stephens, University of Sydney, Australia

‘Peter Lawrence’s book is an original and intellectually stimulating publication which raises complex questions of intergenerational equity and climate change. Both issues have been discussed separately in several important works but this book brings them together with fascinating results. Unlike many purely philosophical approaches, this monograph offers practical solutions based on the conclusion of a global treaty. Lawrence suggests difficult but workable solutions, based on ethical, legal and economic considerations, such as how a treaty would reconcile the long-term interests of developed and developing countries. Effective international law rules addressing climate change are fundamental for both humanity and global ecology and as Lawrence argues in his important book ‘building agreement on what justice means in this context is an essential part of the task.’
– Malgosia Fitzmaurice, Queen Mary University of London, UK

‘This is an extraordinary book that tackles the requirement, as laid down in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to save our climate for future generations. By approaching this requirement from various angles (international law, human rights, ethics, economics, etc.), Lawrence achieved a unique result: he succeeded in turning a vague aspirational norm into concrete actions that need to be taken by us today.’
– Jonathan Verschuuren, Tilburg Sustainability Center and Tilburg Law School, the Netherlands

‘Those interested in, or affected by environmental issues (and aren’t; we all?) should seek out this book. Researchers and policy makers in particular will be pleased, not to mention amazed, by the impressive bibliography of over twenty pages with its wealth of useful references.’
– Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor, The Barrister Magazine

‘Peter Lawrence’s Justice for Future Generations: Climate Change and International Law is a welcome and timely addition to the field.’
– Carbon and Climate Law Review
Contents: 1. Introduction: The Climate Change Problem and Solutions Part 1: Theory 2. The Basis of an Obligation Towards Future Generations in Justice and Ethics in the Context of Climate Change 3. Content of Justice-based Obligations Towards Future Generations in the Context of Climate Change Part II: International Law and Politics 4. Current International Law, Intergenerational Justice and Climate Change 5. International Human Rights Law, Intergenerational Justice and Climate Change 6. Climate Change Discources and Intergenerational Justice Part III: The Way Forward and Conclusion 7. The Way Forward – Incorporating Intergenerational Justice Principles into International Climate Law 8. Conclusion Bibliography Index