Environmental Rights and Environmental Justice: A Global Perspective
The main question of this chapter is whether the constitutional enhancement of citizens’ environmental rights in affluent states might exacerbate the environmental problems of poorer nations. It is pointed out in response that the environmental interests of the rich are already better protected than those of the poor because the latter have less power to resist the imposition of threats to them. This is largely a result of market forces operating under a regime of rights that is in principle opposed by the right to an adequate environment. The interests of poorer countries do not oppose the development of constitutional environmental rights in richer countries. Rather, their interest is to bring about conditions that it would make it possible to secure those same rights for themselves. Indeed, some of the most important precedents in the field of constitutional environmental rights have been set in poorer states. The conclusion is that constitutionalising environmental rights contributes to rather than detracts from the process of building environmental justice, both domestically and globally.
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