A group of prominent environmental activists, lawyers and policymakers are reviving plans to create a transnational lawmaking body to regulate and adapt to environmental issues. Under the leadership of British proponent and lawyer Stephen Hockman, the International Court for the Environment (ICE) would be the supreme legal authority on environmental issues. The body’s two primary goals involve enforcing international agreements on greenhouse gas emission reductions, and fining countries and companies that degrade the environment or fail to comply with standards.
“The ICE would sit above and adjudicate on disputes arising out of the United Nations environmental treaties, including the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992 and the U.N. Framework on Climate Change in 1992, employing the law in those treaties and in customary international law,” according to a policy summary from the Coalition for the ICE.
In an August 2008 column in The Guardian, Hockman suggests the establishment of the ICE will give weight to environmental issues. “The time is ripe for a serious consideration of an international court for the environment. Such a court was mooted in Washington in 1999, but sank without a trace,” he wrote. “Today, however, we cannot afford to drop the ball.”
Plans for the ICE involve continued investigation of long-term commitments, goals and the cultivation of knowledgeable supporters of the environmental body.
While many say there is a need for more stringent environmental guidelines, several online users have posted comments questioning the ultimate strength of the ICE’s enforcement mechanisms and its authority in the current economy.