E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Environmental Law for Sustainability"

Quicklinks

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 March 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Timo Koivurova (Website)

Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Center, University of Lapland, Lapin Yliopisto PL 122, Rovaniemi, FIN-96101, Finland

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental law, as a branch of legal scholarship, has had to struggle with many challenges. Global and regional pollution problems mean that national environmental legal systems have had to increasingly operate in a complex, multilevel regulatory environment. Environmental law does not exist in a vacuum. Legal systems, at various levels, advance many goals; these objectives sometimes conflict with one another (e.g., trade and environmental objectives often conflict). Contributors to this issue will examine why is it difficult for environmental law, on different levels (i.e., within the international, European, or national arenas), to advance a policy of environmental protection. In many cases, it seems, law acts as a conservative force in society, upholding values and norms that were important in the past, but which have become obstacles in the present. If we can diagnose the sustainability problems created by law, we can learn not only more of the workings of the law in general, but also what potentially can be done to overcome those obstacles so as to promote sustainable development. It is important to study the issue in various ways, from theoretical arguments to empirical case-studies, in order to advance our understanding how law functions, and how we can overcome the obstacles in environmental law that have prevented the law from contributing to sustainable development.

Prof. Dr. Timo Koivurova
Gues Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • law
  • environmental law
  • governance
  • sustainable development
  • sustainability
  • conservation law

Published Papers (7 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-7
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Can Environmental Laws Fulfill Their Promise? Stories from Canada
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 6024-6048; doi:10.3390/su6096024
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 12 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (734 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Canadian environmental law has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, responding to some of the flaws and weaknesses identified by commentators seeking to explain the continuing trend in environmental degradation. The aim of this article is to tell the story of [...] Read more.
Canadian environmental law has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, responding to some of the flaws and weaknesses identified by commentators seeking to explain the continuing trend in environmental degradation. The aim of this article is to tell the story of three pieces of Canadian environmental legislation, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, the federal Species at Risk Act, and Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, with a view to exploring whether the environmental ambition underlying these pieces of legislation is being realized. Our overall conclusion is that there is a significant gap between the ambition of these three pieces of environmental legislation and their actual implementation but this gap arises from design choices made by the legislature and the executive, rather than something inherent in the law itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Industrial Pollution Control and Efficient Licensing Processes: The Case of Swedish Regulatory Design
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5401-5422; doi:10.3390/su6085401
Received: 27 March 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 1 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (523 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial pollution accounts for a large proportion of global pollution, and in the European Union, an integrated pollution and prevention approach based on individual performance standards has been implemented to regulate emissions from industrial plants. Crucial for the assessment of the licensing [...] Read more.
Industrial pollution accounts for a large proportion of global pollution, and in the European Union, an integrated pollution and prevention approach based on individual performance standards has been implemented to regulate emissions from industrial plants. Crucial for the assessment of the licensing conditions are the Best Available Technique (BAT) requirements, which should be set in accordance with the recently introduced Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). In this paper, we review and assess the licensing of industrial plants in one of the Member States, namely Sweden. Specifically, we discuss how the existing regulations (including the IED) manage to address potential trade-offs between important regulatory design issues, such as flexibility, predictability and the need to provide continuous incentives for environmental improvements. The analysis indicates that while the EU regulations provide flexibility in terms of the choice of compliance measures, in Sweden, it enters an existing regulatory framework that adds a lot of uncertainty with respect to the outcome of the licensing processes. An important challenge for the implementation of the IED is to implement performance standards that lead to continuous incentives to improve environmental performance in industrial sectors without, at the same time, adding new uncertainties. While standards ideally should be both flexible and predictable, achieving one of these criteria may often come at the expense of the other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Forest Policy and Law for Sustainability within the Korean Peninsula
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5162-5186; doi:10.3390/su6085162
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 18 July 2014 / Accepted: 31 July 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1023 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the early 1990s, sustainable forest management (SFM) has emerged as a paradigm of forest management on global, regional and national levels. In developing countries, avoiding deforestation is a preliminary step towards SFM. The Korean peninsula experienced severe deforestation and forest degradation [...] Read more.
Since the early 1990s, sustainable forest management (SFM) has emerged as a paradigm of forest management on global, regional and national levels. In developing countries, avoiding deforestation is a preliminary step towards SFM. The Korean peninsula experienced severe deforestation and forest degradation after the Korean War (1950–1953). In the 1970s and 1980s, South Korea achieved forest restoration through the National Greening Program. In contrast, North Korea failed to restore forests in spite of continuous trials with forest restoration plans. In North Korea, deforestation has accelerated since the mid-1980s. Deforestation and forest degradation in North Korea threatens stability throughout the Korean peninsula. This study focuses on comparing the forest policy and laws of South Korea and North Korea and suggesting forest policy that promotes sustainability in the Korean peninsula. The research findings can provide developing countries with significant information on forest policy and laws to avoid deforestation and forest degradation and move towards sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Challenges for Sustainable Development and Its Legal Response in China: A Perspective for Social Transformation
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5075-5106; doi:10.3390/su6085075
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 16 July 2014 / Accepted: 30 July 2014 / Published: 11 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (669 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With rapid development since the 1970s, China is entering a period of social transformation, which not only creates favorable conditions for sustainable development but also presents new challenges. The transitional period in China is a stage in which two types of social [...] Read more.
With rapid development since the 1970s, China is entering a period of social transformation, which not only creates favorable conditions for sustainable development but also presents new challenges. The transitional period in China is a stage in which two types of social transformation coexist, the first is the social transformation from agricultural society to industrial society; the second is the transition from industrial society to postindustrial society. In this process of social transformation, new challenges arise for sustainable development in China. In the first layer of social transformation, we respond to the challenges presented by the social transformation through the establishment of basic principles of environmental law, legal enforcement mechanisms, basic legal regimes and so on. In the second layer of social transformation, the advent of a risk society raised new challenges to environmental law, including that of adjusting the function of environmental law, strengthening the precautionary principle, diversification of implementation mechanisms, and development of the preventive function of legal regimes. In order to better respond to these challenges, we should proceed with the following aspects: improve the legal functions of environmental law, including guaranteeing public security, ecological security and the coordination of multiple interests; expand and develop the content of the principle of prevention, and replace the polluter pays principle by the causer responsibility principle; combine administrative measures with economic incentives, and while setting government as the main executive body, effectively operate public participation mechanisms; expand the scope of environmental impact assessment of projects, and establish planning environmental impact assessment, build up and improve information disclosure system, and establish environmental risk assessment system and green tax system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Safety or Salamanders? Natural Hazards and Environmental Conservation in Comprehensive Planning
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4645-4657; doi:10.3390/su6074645
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
PDF Full-text (415 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The stated purpose of Norwegian land use planning is to promote sustainable development. Environmental considerations are central in the planning process, but have to compete with many other goals and interests. In recent years, complexity, population density and similar factors have made [...] Read more.
The stated purpose of Norwegian land use planning is to promote sustainable development. Environmental considerations are central in the planning process, but have to compete with many other goals and interests. In recent years, complexity, population density and similar factors have made the society more vulnerable. Several major floods, landslides and other natural incidents have raised public awareness about the safety aspect of planning. At the same time, better knowledge about natural systems, including the effects of climate change, have increased the level of uncertainty. In this article, I consider the relation between environmental and safety considerations in planning from a legal perspective. While the examples and theoretical framework are from the Norwegian legal system, the overall analysis is general and, thus, relevant also outside the national jurisdiction. Rather than being opposite and directly competing goals, I argue that safety and conservation can be promoted by the same measures, often with mutual benefits. Thus, the current focus on societal safety can actually enhance the environmental aspect of sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A Multi-Scalar Examination of Law for Sustainable Ecosystems
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3534-3551; doi:10.3390/su6063534
Received: 27 March 2014 / Revised: 15 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2014 / Published: 30 May 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (743 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The loss of resilience in social-ecological systems has the capacity to decrease essential ecosystem services, posing threats to human survival. To achieve sustainability, we must not only understand the ecological dynamics of a system, such as coral reefs, but must also promulgate [...] Read more.
The loss of resilience in social-ecological systems has the capacity to decrease essential ecosystem services, posing threats to human survival. To achieve sustainability, we must not only understand the ecological dynamics of a system, such as coral reefs, but must also promulgate regulations that promote beneficial behavior to address ecological stressors throughout the system. Furthermore, laws should reflect that systems operate at multiple spatial and temporal scales, thus requiring management across traditional legal jurisdictions. In this paper, we conducted a multi-scalar examination of law for sustainable ecosystems and how law pertains to coral reef ecosystems in particular. Findings indicate that, in order to achieve sustainability, we must develop new or reform existing legal mechanisms to protect ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Identifying Legal, Ecological and Governance Obstacles, and Opportunities for Adapting to Climate Change
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2338-2356; doi:10.3390/su6042338
Received: 6 March 2014 / Revised: 14 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 April 2014 / Published: 22 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (532 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current governance of regional scale water management systems in the United States has not placed them on a path toward sustainability, as conflict and gridlock characterize the social arena and ecosystem services continue to erode. Changing climate may continue this trajectory, but [...] Read more.
Current governance of regional scale water management systems in the United States has not placed them on a path toward sustainability, as conflict and gridlock characterize the social arena and ecosystem services continue to erode. Changing climate may continue this trajectory, but it also provides a catalyst for renewal of ecosystems and a window of opportunity for change in institutions. Resilience provides a bridging concept that predicts that change in ecological and social systems is often dramatic, abrupt, and surprising. Adapting to the uncertainty of climate driven change must be done in a manner perceived as legitimate by the participants in a democratic society. Adaptation must begin with the current hierarchical and fragmented social-ecological system as a baseline from which new approaches must be applied. Achieving a level of integration between ecological concepts and governance requires a dialogue across multiple disciplines, including ecologists with expertise in ecological resilience, hydrologists and climate experts, with social scientists and legal scholars. Criteria and models that link ecological dynamics with policies in complex, multi-jurisdictional water basins with adaptive management and governance frameworks may move these social-ecological systems toward greater sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Figures

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Sustainability Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
sustainability@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Sustainability
Back to Top