AuthorJamie Benidickson
The OECD in a major report Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Con-
sequences of Inaction projected signif‌icant population and economic
growth to the mid– twenty-f‌irst century, giving rise to severe environ-
mental threats i n terms of water availability, adverse public health
impacts, disr uptive climate change, and biodiversity loss. In the OECD’s
assessment, “progre ss on an incremental, piecemeal, busi ness-as-usu al
basis in the coming dec ades will not be enough.”1 That prediction is
underscored by more recent studies documenting dr amatic global losses
of wilderness and biodiversity or conf‌irming the urgency of v igorous
engagement with climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
In these circum stances, to contemplate a future for environmental
law — even in general ter ms — is something of a cau se for celebrat ion. It
is also to acknowledge defeat. This paradox derives from sharply diver-
gent perceptions of the eff‌icacy of law as a response to environmental
problems. For those who anticipated ecological apocalypse some time
ago, mere survival must constitute something of a succes s, while from
the perspective of those who have ch ampioned one legal innovation
after another as the magic answer, the continuation of struggle against
environmental degrad ation will be something of a setback. But so it will
be, a future much like the past, in which a wide range of instrument s
1 OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Conse quences of Inaction (OE CD Pu b-
lishing, 2012) at 19, online:

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT