The impact of climate change law on the principle of state sovereignty over natural resources

Van Wyk, Sanita (2017-03)

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This dissertation serves to expand the means within international law by which to address the global interdisciplinary crisis that is climate change. The principle of sovereignty over natural resources is identified as a principle of international law, evolutionary in nature, fundamentally connected to the international legal climate change regime, and able to be impacted by the effects of climate change. The gravity of climate change is illustrated, as is the intricacy and composition of the international legal climate change regime. In the process, a particular shortcoming of the international legal climate change regime is identified, namely the lack of state compliance with climate commitments made in terms of the Kyoto Protocol 1997 and the Paris Agreement 2015. The gravity of the effects of climate change warrants the repositioning of any principle of international law that is able to address this shortcoming of the international legal climate change regime and increase the effectiveness of the regime. In this regard it is determined, more specifically, that the gravity of the effects of climate change warrants a reinterpretation and reconfiguration of the principle of sovereignty over natural resources. Climate change, forming part of the general, growing, global concern for environmental conservation and sustainable development, influences the interpretation and configuration of state rights and state duties in terms of the principle by eliciting an interpretation that restricts state rights and expands state duties. Furthermore, the gravity of the effects of climate change on the well-being of people, warrants a reinterpretation and reconfiguration of the principle of sovereignty over natural resources as a people-oriented principle as opposed to the conventional state-oriented principle, and ought to be applied with due regard to the rights of people in terms of the principle. The right of people in terms of the principle of sovereignty over natural resources, is identified as the right to economic selfdetermination, which gives effect to the right of people to dispose freely of natural resources. Should this right be promoted in future applications of the principle of sovereignty over natural resources, the right may well be established as constituting a significant basis on which people are able to hold states accountable for climate commitments made in terms of the Kyoto Protocol 1997 and the Paris Agreement 2015. In this way, the principle of sovereignty over natural resources, specifically the implementation of the right of people to dispose freely of natural resources in terms of the principle, presents a negative incentive for state compliance with climate commitments and can contribute to addressing the lack of state compliance within the international legal climate change regime. In summary, this dissertation proposes that the grave effects of climate change warrant a repositioning of the principle of sovereignty over natural resources that allows it to constitute a contribution to climate change law and the global fight against climate change.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie proefskrif dien om die wyse uit te brei waardeur die wêreldwye interdissiplinêre krisis van klimaatsverandering deur internasionale reg aangespreek kan word. Die beginsel van soewereiniteit oor natuurlike hulpbronne is geïdentifiseer as ‘n beginsel van internasionale reg, van nature geneig tot evolusie, fundamenteel verbind met die internasionale wetlike klimaatsverandering regime, en in staat om beïnvloed te word deur die gevolge van klimaatsverandering. Die erns van klimaatsverandering, asook die ingewikkeldheid en samestelling van die internasionale wetlike klimaatsverandering regime word ge-ïllustreer. In die proses word ‘n spesifieke tekortkoming van die internasionale wetlike klimaatsverandering regime geïdentifiseer, naamlik die gebrek aan gehoorgewing van die staat aan verpligtinge waarop ooreengekom is in terme van die Kyoto Protokol 1997 en die Parys Ooreenkoms 2015. Die erns van die effekte van klimaatsverandering, behoort die herposisionering te eis van enige beginsel van internasionale reg wat in staat is om die tekortkominge in die internasionale wetlike klimaatsverandering regime aan te spreek en die effektiwiteit van die regime te verhoog. In hierdie verband is dit spesifiek vasgestel dat die erns van die effekte van klimaatsverandering ‘n herinterpretasie en herkonfigurasie van die beginsel van soewereiniteit oor natuurlike hulpbronne eis. Klimaatsverandering, wat ‘n deel vorm van die algemene, groeiende, wêreldwye besorgdheid oor omgewingsbewaring en volhoubare ontwikkeling, beïnvloed die interpretasie en konfigurasie van die staat se regte en pligte in terme van die beginsel deur ‘n interpretasie te eis wat die staat se regte beperk en sy pligte uitbrei. Verder behoort die erns van klimaatsverandering en die effekte daarvan op die welstand van die mens, ‘n herinterpretasie en herkonfigurasie van die beginsel van soewereiniteit oor natuurlike hulpbronne as ‘n mens-georiënteerde beginsel teenoor die konvensionele staats-georiënteerde beginsel te eis, en behoort die beginsel toegepas te word met die verskuldigde agting tot die regte van die mens. Die reg van die mens in terme van die beginsel van soewereiniteit oor natuurlike hulpbronne is geïdentifiseer as die reg van die mens tot ekonomiese self-determinasie, wat effek gee aan die reg van die mens om vrylik te beskik oor natuurlike hulpbronne. Sou die reg van die mens bevorder word in toekomstige toepassings van die beginsel van soewereiniteit oor natuurlike hulpbronne, kan die reg dalk bevestig word as ‘n gewigtige basis waarop die mens ‘n staat verantwoordelik kan hou vir die staat se klimaatsverpligtinge wat ooreengekom is in terme van die Kyoto Protokol 1997 en die Parys Ooreenkoms 2015. Op hierdie manier kan die beginsel van soewereiniteit oor natuurlike hulpbronne, en spesifiek die implementering van die reg van die mens om vrylik te beskik oor natuurlike hulpbronne in terme van die beginsel, ‘n negatiewe insentief wees vir state se nakoming van klimaatsverpligtinge, en kan dit bydra tot die adressering van die gebrek van staatsonderworpenheid aan die internasionale wetlike klimaatsverandering regime. Opsommend stel hierdie proefskrif dus voor dat die erns van die effekte van klimaatsverandering ‘n reposisionering eis van die beginsel van soewereiniteit oor natuurlike hulpbronne, wat dit moontlik maak vir die beginsel om ‘n bydrae te lewer tot klimaatsveranderingswetgewing en die wêreldwye geveg teen klimaatsverandering.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101171
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