Dalhousie Law Journal


international law, enforcement, environmental, protection, doctrine, intergenerational equity


In the absence of binding international enforcement mechanisms, global environmental governance must rely on a legal framework that has widespread normative force around the world. In addition, such a framework should be sufficiently detailed and pragmatic to allow for effective implementation, should achieve the goal of environmental protection, and should be reasonable in terms of the level of sacrifice expected of the present generation, particularly in the developing world. Itis arguedthat the comprehensive doctrine ofintergenerational equity is an effective and appropriate legal framework for global environmental governance. The doctrine ofintergenerational equityposits thepresent generation of humans as simultaneously beneficiaries of the planetary legacy handed down from past generations, and trustees of that legacy for the future. The doctrine integrates the language of rights and responsibility and incorporates viable implementation mechanisms. As a result, the doctrine of intergenerational equity is superior to the presently hegemonic paradigm of sustainable development. The author concludes that the international community should adopt the doctrine of intergenerational equityas a framework for global environmental governance.