Legality and Legitimacy: The Environmental Challenge

Lorraine Elliott

in Legality and Legitimacy in Global Affairs

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199781577
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932887 | DOI:
Legality and Legitimacy: The Environmental Challenge

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The current world order is characterized by continuing loss of ecological services, a paucity of global spending on sustainable development and a disproportionate environmental impact on those who are already marginalized. These features raise doubts about both the adequacy and the legitimacy of the rule systems and institutions of global environmental governance. This chapter explores the tension between legality and legitimacy in the global politics of the environment through three over-lapping sites of debate: sovereign authority; rightful membership of the global political community; and the nature of procedures, norms and performance. It concludes that both the legality and legitimacy of environmental institutions and practices rest not just on performance and effectiveness but also on both particular and general notions of consent.

Keywords: sustainable development; global environmental governance; consent; rule systems; sovereign authority

Chapter.  10769 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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