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GW Law Library
Research Guides

International Environmental Law

A basic guide to researching international environmental law.

About International Environmental Law


"International environmental law is the set of agreements and principles that reflect the world's collective effort to manage our transition to the Anthropocene by resolving our most serious environmental problems, including climate change, ozone depletion and mass extinction of wildlife. More generally, international environmental law aims to achieve sustainable development—i.e., development that allows people to have a high quality of life today without sacrificing the quality of life of future generations. International environmental law is thus critical both for addressing specific environmental threats and for integrating long-term environmental protection into the global economy."

Source: David Hunter, International Environmental Law, 19 Insights on Law & Society (Jan. 5, 2021).

Sources of International Environmental Law

  • International Treaties & Agreements Subscription Database  (Law School Only)
    Source: Brunnee, Jutta. "Environment, Multilateral Agreements" in "Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
  • Customary International Law Subscription Database  (Law School Only)
    Encompasses domestic law, law of EU, and international organizations.
    Source: Treves, Tullio. "Customary International Law" in "Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law."
  • General Principles of Law Subscription Database  (Law School Only)
    Source:  Beyerlin, Ulrich &  Stoutenburg, Jenny Grote. "Environment, International Protection" in "Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law."
  • International Environmental "Soft Law" Subscription Database  (Law School Only)
    Legally non-binding instruments from international environmental conferences or other international organizations.
    Source: Thürer, Daniel. "Soft Law" in "Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law."
  • Judicial Decisions Subscription Database  (Law School Only)
    Judicial decisions of domestic and international courts.
    Source: Pellet, Alain. "Judicial Settlement of International Disputes" in "Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law."
  • Scholarly Writings
    While the writings of legal scholars are not primary sources of international law, they can show evidence of it.

Titles Recently Acquired

Animals in International Law

The Continental Shelf Delimitation Beyond 200 Nautical Miles: Towards a Common Approach to Maritime Boundary-Making

Debating Climate Law

Energy in International Trade Law: Concepts, Regulation, and Changing Markets

Environmental Taxation in the Pandemic Era: Opportunities and Challenges

Essential EU Climate Law

European Union Plant Variety Protection

Fresh Water in International Law

Furthering the Frontiers of International Law: Sovereignty, Human Rights, Sustainable Development:  Liber Amicorum Nico Schrijver

Gaps in International Environmental Law: Toward a Global Pact for the Environment

Intellectual Property and Sustainable Markets

International Food Law: How Food Law can Balance Health, Environment and Animal Welfare

International Law and Corporate Actors in Deep Seabed Mining

International Law and Global Governance: Treaty Regimes and Sustainable Development Goals Implementation

Investment Governance Between the Energy Charter Treaty and the European Union: Resolving Regulatory Conflicts

IUU Fishing as a Flag State Accountability Paradigm: Between Effectiveness and Legitamacy

The League of Nations and the Protection of the Environment

Principles of Water Law and Administration: National & International

Reconsidering REDD+: Authority, Power, and Law in the Green Economy

Role of Multilateral Environmental Agreements: A Reconciliatory Approach to Environmental Protection in Armed Conflict

Sustainable Energy Democracy and the Law

Towards the Environmental Minimum: Environmental Protection Through Human Rights