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Monday, October 02, 2006

Research Canons: Environmental Law

Our next subject matter for the research canons project is Environmental Law.  (See here for a discussion of the research canons project, including some newly added categories, dates, and links to previous installments.)  Please comment on the books and articles that are essential to a new academic in the field.

Posted by Matt Bodie on October 2, 2006 at 09:55 AM in Research Canons | Permalink


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Ronald Coase's "The Problem of Social Cost," is exceedingly important for environmental law. Unfortunately, the essay is so poorly understood. Therefore, I think that Coase's entire volume of essays, The Firm, The Market, and the Law, should be listed in the canon. It includes the initial social cost essay, an second explanatory essay, and introductory comments. The seminal essay on lighthouses is also important in that it illustrates how public goods may be provided without state intervention.

I also think that several of Demsetz's essays on property rights are of great importance, particularly Harold Demsetz. Towards a Theory of Property Rights. The American Economic Review. Volume 57, Issue 2. May, 1967, 347-359.

Posted by: Jonathan H. Adler | Oct 3, 2006 10:13:32 AM

One more item on the international plane: On 'NGOs and International Environmental Disputes and Compliance Mechanisms,' see the excellent contributions that make up chapters 12-15 in Treves, Tullio, et al., eds. Civil Society, International Courts and Compliance Bodies (The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press, 2005)

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Oct 2, 2006 11:11:10 AM

A path-breaking book here is of course Christopher D. Stone's Should Trees Have Standing: Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects (Los Altos, CA: William Kaufmann, 1974) [Stone, Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects, 45 S. Cal. L. Rev. 450 (1972)]

By way of enhancing our historical and conceptual clarification of environmental law, I would recommend (respectively), Richard J. Lazarus, The Making of Environmental Law (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2004), and Sean Coyle and Karen Morrow, The Philosophical Foundations of Environmental Law: Property, Rights, and Nature (Oxford, UK: Hart, 2004). There is a very helpful select bibliography in Coyle and Morrow.

Vaughn Lowe has a nice discussion of how the environmental principle of 'sustainability' has become an 'interstitial' norm in international law (owing to the Gabcikovo Case, 1982) that mediates between the 'legal principles' (treated as) of economic development and protection of the environment, in his essay, 'The Politics of Law-Making,' in Michael Byers, ed., The Role of Law in International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

By way of propaedeutic or complementary literature to environmental law proper, I would recommend:

Clapp, Jennifer and Peter Dauvergne. Paths to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005)

Dasgupta, Partha. Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)

Eckersley, Robyn. The Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004)

Jasanoff, Sheila and Marybeth Long Martello, eds. Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance (Cambrdge, MA: MIT Press, 2004)

Shrader-Frechette, Kristin. Environmental Justice: Creating Equality, Reclaiming Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Oct 2, 2006 10:56:29 AM

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