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Re-Assessing Transboundary Air Pollution Law

Adam anticipates UNEP’s Nairobi meeting

Re-Assessing Transboundary Air Pollution Law

Adam Byrne, a postgraduate researcher in UCL Geography, has been invited to contribute to a Special Issue of the Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law on ‘International and EU Law on Air Pollution’.

The issue is published to coincide with the UN Environment Assembly’s Meeting in Nairobi on 4-6 December 2017. The Assembly is the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, and the meeting’s theme is, ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’.

Adam’s paper, ‘Trouble in the air: Recent developments under the 1979 Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution’, focuses on the recent history of the Convention and its Protocols, a unique legal regime open to all members of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

It has the potential to extend transboundary air pollution law over wide areas of the globe, covering 20% of the world population, including North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and parts of West and Central Asia.

Adam explores the delayed application of amendments negotiated in 2009–2012, covering acidification, eutrophication, ground-Level ozone, short-lived climate pollutants, persistent organic pollutants, and heavy metals.

He also questions the geographical coverage of the legal instruments, with several former Soviet states choosing to not participate in the pollution-specific protocols. This led to efforts in 2011 to boost participation through the creation of a coordinating group to promote action in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The paper also explores recent developments in compliance and inventory adjustments, arguing for more effective assessments relating to sources and levels of air pollution and their effects on compliance.

The special issue is guest edited by Seita Romppanen and Yulia Yamineva, from the Law School of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). All of its papers will be freely available in the first weeks of December.

Adam’s article is available to read here.

Information on the UNEA’s Beat Pollution Campaign is available here.


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