Research Handbook on Law, Governance and Planetary Boundaries
Preview Blog


Research Handbook on Law, Governance and Planetary Boundaries

9781035308125 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Duncan French, Pro Vice Chancellor of the College of Social Science and Professor of International Law, University of Lincoln, UK and Louis J. Kotzé, Research Professor, North-West University, South Africa and Senior Professorial Fellow in Earth System Law, University of Lincoln, UK
Publication Date: 2022 ISBN: 978 1 03530 812 5 Extent: 416 pp
This comprehensive Research Handbook is the first study to link law and Earth system science through the epistemic lens of the planetary boundaries framework. It critically examines the legal and governance aspects of the framework, considering not only each planetary boundary, but also a range of systemic issues, including the ability of law to keep us within the planetary boundaries’ safe operating space.

Copyright & permissions

Recommend to librarian

Your Details

Privacy Policy

Librarian Details

Download leaflet

Print page

More Information
Critical Acclaim
More Information
This comprehensive Research Handbook is the first study to link law and Earth system science through the epistemic lens of the planetary boundaries framework. It critically examines the legal and governance aspects of the framework, considering not only each planetary boundary, but also a range of systemic issues, including the ability of law to keep us within the planetary boundaries’ safe operating space.
The expert contributors investigate the current and potential role of law in relation to the complex task and regulatory challenges of governing the Earth system. They explore three thematic areas: the overarching legal, ethical and governance dimensions of the planetary boundaries; their diverse international law dimensions and the challenges they raise for international law; and the extent to which the law already provides for some of the aspects illuminated by each planetary boundary, alongside opportunities for legal reform.
Lawyers, Earth system scientists and governance experts will benefit from the mapping of the next stage of international environmental law included in the chapters. The book will also be a key resource for regulators, legislators and policy-makers looking for an in-depth study of the relationship between law and each of the nine planetary boundaries.

Critical Acclaim
‘The planetary boundaries concept provides an ideal framework for connecting science with law at the global level. This book explores this connection in great detail, from our undeniable need for limits and the fundamental concepts of ethics, justice and governance to the comprehensive assessment of the legal implications of each of the individual boundaries.’
– Will Steffen, The Australian National University, Australia

‘Co-edited by Duncan French and Louis Kotzé – two of the foremost scholars in the field of environmental law in the era of the Anthropocene – this Research Handbook is the first comprehensive attempt to investigate, from a legal perspective, the human dimensions of scientific concepts of planetary boundaries. The book brings together a fascinating series of contributions from some of the leading legal thinkers in the field. At a time when raging fires and other “unprecedented” environmental disasters are providing increasing evidence of the consequences of failing to respect planetary limits, this book is a timely and important reminder of the contribution that can be made by law in ensuring that humanity and our environment remain within the planet’s “safe operating space”.’
– Jacqueline Peel, University of Melbourne, Australia

‘If international environmental law is to stay relevant in the face of overwhelming evidence of its inability to address the galloping environmental harms humanity is witnessing, it needs to embrace a fundamental reset of its premises, conceptual pillars, and governance models. Such a reset requires imagination – imagination that is outrageous in its ambition and fuelled by outrage. This Research Handbook, edited by two of the finest international environmental law scholars of our time, Duncan French and Louis Kotzé, is a work of such outrageous imagination. It challenges legal boundaries in its quest to protect planetary ones, and in so doing takes us closer to law and governance fit for environmental purpose.’
– Lavanya Rajamani, University of Oxford, UK

''In the last two decades, a growing body of transdisciplinary research has brought to light the immense impact of certain human processes not just on “history” but on the Earth system. Yet, lawyers and legal researchers have remained conspicuously absent from this major effort, despite the very significant role that legal organisations play in enabling and, we must hope, controlling such impact. This ground-breaking volume fleshes out, for the first time, what law means for the Earth-shaping human processes that have come to characterise our epoch, the Anthropocene.’
– Jorge Viñuales, University of Cambridge, UK

‘A comprehensive, nuanced and expert examination of how international environmental law and governance should reflect the planetary boundaries that we are rapidly approaching or have already begun to violate, this volume could not be more timely. With interdisciplinary contributions from scholars in a wide variety of fields, the book is both an introduction of the concept of planetary boundaries to those who are not familiar with it, and a detailed exploration of its legal ramifications. It will be a foundational text for all future work in this area.’
– John Knox, Wake Forest University School of Law, US and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment

‘Duncan French and Louis Kotzé have assembled a must-read primer for anyone researching the legal context to the planet’s environmental boundaries under unprecedented stress. Read this book for an accessible, insightful and comprehensive account from some of the world’s foremost scholars of environmental law.’
– Benjamin J. Richardson, University of Tasmania, Australia

‘This collection is a profound and deep meditation by an esteemed panel of authors on the role of law at a time of extreme risk and uncertainty. As the planet''s capacity to uphold life support systems becomes increasingly tenuous, the law is invoked to provide the normative and regulatory frameworks to constrain human behaviour. By reflecting on law as an instrument of governance, the authors question how to facilitate a convergence between planetary and legal boundaries. This might include a focus on responsibilities rather than rights, on Indigenous knowledge and the Rights of Nature. The editors are to be congratulated for stimulating these insightful responses.’
– Rosemary Lyster, University of Sydney, Australia

‘By now well into the Anthropocene, human societies are running up against the limits of what the Earth system can sustain. This excellent volume offers a thought-provoking and engaging set of reflections on the natural, conceptual and intellectual dimensions of our planetary boundaries, and on the capacity of international environmental law to articulate and protect them. A compelling, indispensable addition to the Research Handbook series.’
– Jutta Brunnée, University of Toronto, Canada

‘This is a welcome overview of existing efforts and future possibilities of legally regulating activities that threaten to violate the biophysical conditions for human survival in the Anthropocene. The chapters systematically review the ways in which national and international law can be applied to keep humanity within the so-called planetary boundaries that define the Earth''s “safe operating space”. In interweaving natural-science insights on the Earth system with legal options and ethical perspectives, this volume outlines feasible reforms and offers hope.’
– Alf Hornborg, Lund University, Sweden

Contributors: S. Adelman, H.P. Aust, O. Barsalou, A. Bleby, L. Collins, N.J. Cooper, D. Diz, L. du Toit, L.-A. Duvic-Paoli, J. Ebbesson, D. French, G.M. Frisso, E. Hey, C. Holley, R.E. Kim, E.A. Kirk, L.J. Kotzé, B. Milligan, K. Morrow, J.E. Nijman, C. Nzegwu, T. Paloniitty, M.H. Picard, D. Piselli, H. Somsen, T. Stephens, A. Trouwborst, H. van Asselt, J. Verschuuren, E. Webster

Foreword xi
Preface xii
1 Staying within the planet’s ‘safe operating space’? Law and the
planetary boundaries 1
Louis J. Kotzé and Duncan French

2 Exploring the planetary boundaries and environmental law: historical
development, interactions and synergies 21
Alice Bleby, Cameron Holley and Ben Milligan
3 Governing the complexity of planetary boundaries: a state-of-the-art
analysis of social science scholarship 45
Rakhyun E. Kim and Louis J. Kotzé
4 Planetary boundaries, planetary ethics and climate justice in the Anthropocene 65
Sam Adelman
5 Science, law and planetary uncertainty 84
Lynda Collins
6 Planetary boundaries intra muros : cities and the Anthropocene 103
Helmut Philipp Aust and Janne E. Nijman

7 Planetary boundaries and regime interaction in international law 125
Dario Piselli and Harro van Asselt
8 Changing role of law-making in responding to planetary boundaries? 147
Giovanna M. Frisso and Elizabeth A. Kirk
9 International law, planetary boundaries and teleconnections 167
Ellen Hey
10 Compliance with planetary boundaries in international law 183
Jonas Ebbesson
11 Exploring the planetary boundaries’ wasteland: international law and
the advent of the Molysmocene 203
Michael Hennessy Picard and Olivier Barsalou

12 Loss of biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and extinctions) 221
Han Somsen and Arie Trouwborst
13 Climate change 245
Jonathan Verschuuren
14 Stratospheric ozone depletion 260
Louise du Toit
15 Atmospheric aerosol loading 277
Leslie-Anne Duvic-Paoli and Emily Webster
16 Ocean acidification 294
Tim Stephens
17 Nitrogen and phosphorus flows to the biosphere and oceans 309
Daniela Diz
18 Freshwater consumption and the global hydrological cycle 324
Nathan John Cooper
19 Land system change 342
Karen Morrow
20 Chemical pollution (and the release of novel entities) 363
Tiina Paloniitty, Chukwukpee Nzegwu and Duncan French

eBook for individuals
978 1 78990 274 7
From $49.56
Click here for options
eBook for library purchase
978 1 78990 274 7
View sample chapter and check access on:
eBook options

Available for individuals to buy from these websites

Or recommend to your institution to acquire on Elgaronline
  • Buy as part of an eBook subject collection - flexible options available
  • Downloading and printing allowed
  • No limits on concurrent user access, ideal for course use
My Cart