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53 German Y.B. Int'l L. 89 (2010)
Responsibility and Climate Change

handle is hein.journals/gyil53 and id is 90 raw text is: 










Responsibility and Climate Change


                          MALGOSIA FITZMAURICE*


   ABSTRACT: The question of responsibility and climate change is a complex
matter to which there are no clear-cut solutions. The main question investigated in
this essay is the applicability and the general usefulness of the rules of State responsi-
bility in the context of climate change, due to its special character, which escapes the
classical framework of these rules. There is also a question of the legal character of
international obligations pertaining to climate change which are not of a traditional
bilateral character but have to be placed within the paradigm of the obligations erga
ones (or erga omnespartes). Additionally, there are some unresolved issues of causa-
tion and due diligence, which in the case of climate change, are particularly vague and
ill-defined. New developments in international environmental law, which may have
certain influence on responsibility for climate change - the precautionary principle,
environmental impact assessment, common but differentiated responsibilities - but,
in themselves, are not the elements of the traditional paradigm of State responsibility,
are also addressed in this essay. Finally, the essay considers the possibility of climate
change constituting a self-contained regime.
   KEYWORDS: climate change, responsibility, obligations erga omnes, erga omnes
partes, damage, causation, Principle 21, ILC Articles on State Responsbility, common
concern of mankind, self-contained regimes


                                I. Introduction


   A discussion of climate change and responsibility, one of the most complicated and
debated issues of international (environmental) law, should be set in the broader
context of responsibility for environmental damage. Responsibility for environmental
damage itself constitutes part and parcel of the general questions of responsibility for
wrongful acts, which were codified and developed by the International Law Commis-

   • Professor of Public International Law at Queen Mary College, University of London.

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