The World Heritage Convention & Climate Change: The Case for Climate-Change Mitigation Strategy Beyond the Kyoto Protocol
ADJUDICATING CLIMATE CONTROL: SUB-NATIONAL, NATIONAL, AND SUPRA-NATIONAL APPROACHES, Wil C. Burns & Hari Osofsky, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2007
15 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2007
Climate change is currently detrimentally affecting many valued natural areas, including glaciated mountain terrain and coral reefs. Many of these areas are protected areas under the World Heritage Convention, which requires that State Parties actively protect these areas to transmit their outstanding universal values to future generations. For World Heritage sites like Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and the Great Barrier Reef, the most pressing threat is global warming. This Chapter argues that under the World Heritage Convention, State Parties are obliged to engage in an aggressive climate-change mitigation strategy, including deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, to protect sites like Waterton-Glacier and the Great Barrier Reef. This obligation extends even to those State Parties that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, such as the United States and Australia, despite the United States' arguments to the contrary. If the United States and Australia were to implement their World Heritage Convention obligations in good faith, both would be bound to aggressive greenhouse gas mitigation targets.
Keywords: climate change, World Heritage Convention, Kyoto Protocol, mitigation, UNESCO, glaciers
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By Anna Huggins