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Polar Law Textbook II

image of Polar Law Textbook II

”Developments in the Arctic and Antarctica continue to be the subject of growing public interest and academic, political, scientific, and media discourse. The global magnitude of the changes that are currently taking place in the Polar Regions, also influence legal developments. Furthermore, the growing importance of both the Arctic and the Antarctica in various areas of global, regional, national and sub-national development requires further inquiry into the role of law in dealing with many of the current and emerging issues relevant to both Poles. Although law is not a panacea for all issues, it has its own role to play in dealing with many of them.”A broad overview of Polar law issues was presented in the pioneering Polar Law Textbook, N. Loukacheva ed. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers, Tema Nord 538: 2010 (www.norden.org).This textbook represents the outcome of a cooperative process between an international group of well-known experts in the area of Polar law and related studies. Polar Law Textbook II further draws upon Polar law as an evolving and developing field of studies which is gaining increasing recognition and intersects with many other areas in the social sciences and humanities. It explores a variety of legal issues in the Arctic and Antarctica (i.e., questions of human rights law, environmental law, law of the sea, continental shelf, climate change, energy law, resources, indigenous peoples’ rights, etc.,) but also covers the relevant aspects of geopolitics, security, governance, search and rescue, biodiversity, devolution, institutions (e.g., the Arctic Council) and political developments.

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Polar Regimes Tackling Climate Change

Climate change as a global problem was first addressed in the context of the UN climate regime, which commenced with the adoption in 1992 and entry into force, in 1994, of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Given that this treaty, which commands almost universal support, lays out only very general climate change mitigation and adaptation duties for states, it was only natural that states negotiated a Protocol (Kyoto Protocol) to lay down binding emission reduction targets for the industrialised states in 1997 (entry into force in 2005). The first commitment period, within which industrialised states were expected to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, ran from 2008 to 2012.

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