Don't Be A Victim Twice!
Environmental Laws and TreatiesThis article was approved by Jim Adler
With technology moving forward at a steady pace, telecommunication often makes it seem like the size of the Earth is shrinking. This global society means that each country has a greater responsibility to do its part to protect and preserve the environment. Within an individual nation, a country might make environmental laws that govern the actions of the citizens of that country. Globally, countries might enter into environmental treaties that seek to monitor activities and minimize harm to the environment.
United States Environmental Laws
The United States has passed a number of laws that help protect the environment. For example, the Clean Air Act, which was passed in 1970, established a set of standards regarding air quality in general. The federal government has reviewed this law repeatedly, passing amendments to the act that make it more stringent. The Clean Water Act sets standards for keeping water clean and free of pollutants.
Nations around the world have entered into global treaties designed to protect the environment. For example, the Kyoto Protocol was designed to control greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries. The Montreal Protocol involved more than 150 different countries, and it was instituted to minimize the production of substances that damage the ozone layer. Countries engage in significant negotiations to reach agreements, but unfortunately, often, follow-through after ratification is inconsistent.
- Summary of the Clean Air Act: The federal Clean Air Act governs air emissions from all types of stationary and mobile machinery, motors, and equipment.
- Environmental Regulations: Small business owners must understand the environmental regulations in place that pertain to equipment that might be owned and used by a company.
- USGS Guide to Federal Environmental Laws and Regulations: The United States Geological Survey provides information about environmental laws that regulate activities occurring in the United States.
- Environmental Laws: Summaries of Major Statutes Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (PDF): President Richard Nixon established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. The purpose of this agency includes regulation of the quality of air and water and the chemical usage of companies in the United States.
- List of Major Environmental Treaties, Rules, and Other Initiatives That Lindy Johnson Played a Key Role in Shaping (PDF): A number of environmental treaties have been enacted to help prevent damage to the environment on a global scale, including the Global Antifouling Treaty and International Air Pollution Standards.
- A Timeline of Environmental Treaties: Global environmental treaties have been based on pollution control laws already in place in the United States.
- Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shares an overview of federal resource laws here, including the Antarctic Treaty, which is in place to protect native species living in this region.
- Treaties and Laws That Protect the Environment: Antarctic environmental treaties establish protected areas to ensure that native plants and animals thrive while research activities occur.
- Kyoto Protocol: The Kyoto Protocol established a commitment to reducing emissions. The United States was not included in this treaty.
- Treaties and Conventions: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission assists with the implementation of environmental treaties.
- A Portfolio System of Climate Treaties (PDF): Global treaties may utilize trade restrictions on various countries in an attempt to gain cooperation with environmental treaties.
- Implementing International Environmental Treaties in Developing Countries: China’s Compliance With the Montreal Protocol: Developing countries may often be significant offenders in areas of emissions due to a lack of internal regulations. For these countries to adhere to environmental treaties, they may need assistance from other countries.
- Law of the Sea: The Law of the Sea institutes rules regarding worldwide oceans and seas, applicable to everyone who uses them.
- Strengthening the Global Environmental Treaty System (PDF): New global environmental treaties regularly join a long list of agreements. However, the system in place that formulates and institutes the treaties has some flaws that detract from its effectiveness.
- Enforcement of International Environmental Treaties: An Analysis (PDF): The global society that has resulted from increased telecommunication has led to a greater need for international environmental treaties that include both developed and undeveloped countries.
- Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America on Air Quality (PDF): The United States and Canada are working together to ensure that the air quality of both countries remains healthy along their shared border.
- International Environmental Treaties and State Behavior: Factors Influencing Cooperation (PDF): A number of factors may combine to determine the overall effectiveness of an environmental treaty and how countries uphold the provisions of the treaty.
- Who Ratifies Environmental Treaties and Why? Institutionalism, Structuralism and Participation by 192 Nations in 22 Treaties (PDF): Nations must figure out ways to work together to implement global treaties governing environmental issues.
- The Social Bases of Environmental Treaty Ratification, 1900-90 (PDF): Greater environmental responsibility on the part of nations around the world has led to more environmental treaties being enacted to try to reduce harmful environmental impacts.
- Environmental and Health Regulation: Assessing Liability Under Investment Treaties (PDF): Individual countries’ liability is a part of environmental and health regulations in place.
- Environmental Laws and Treaties: Explore a list of federal environmental laws in place to protect the planet.
- U.S. Code § 1701: Congressional Declaration of Policy: Cornell University Law School provides the text of federal environmental codes.