Transboundary Environmental Harm in the Arctic – In Search of Accountability for an Oil Spill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Recently, the Arctic has transformed from a peripheral region to an area of great interest, for instance in terms of oil drilling. Nonetheless, no legal instrument has addressed the matter of accountability for transfrontier oil pollution damage. This article accordingly evaluates whether the current legal constructs, meaning State responsibility, international liability, civil liability regimes, and multilateral environmental agreements, allow accountability to be established for transboundary environmental harm resulting from hydrocarbon exploitation in the Arctic. It also examines whether these constructions could serve as the basis for future legislative actions. This article treats these four constructions as layers of accountability. After examining all of the layers in their current formulation, this article asserts that the existing layers cannot establish accountability for transboundary environmental damage in the Arctic, nor do they as such offer an effective way to regulate accountability in the future. Therefore, the article concludes that the law of accountability necessitates a new approach, such as a non-compliance mechanism or hybrid system combining elements of multiple layers. Finally, the article calls for immediate legislative actions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalYearbook of Polar Law
Volume10
Issue number1
ISSN1876-8814
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 513 Law
  • environmental liability
  • transboundary environmental damage
  • oil drilling
  • the Arctic

Cite this

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title = "Transboundary Environmental Harm in the Arctic – In Search of Accountability for an Oil Spill",
abstract = "Recently, the Arctic has transformed from a peripheral region to an area of great interest, for instance in terms of oil drilling. Nonetheless, no legal instrument has addressed the matter of accountability for transfrontier oil pollution damage. This article accordingly evaluates whether the current legal constructs, meaning State responsibility, international liability, civil liability regimes, and multilateral environmental agreements, allow accountability to be established for transboundary environmental harm resulting from hydrocarbon exploitation in the Arctic. It also examines whether these constructions could serve as the basis for future legislative actions. This article treats these four constructions as layers of accountability. After examining all of the layers in their current formulation, this article asserts that the existing layers cannot establish accountability for transboundary environmental damage in the Arctic, nor do they as such offer an effective way to regulate accountability in the future. Therefore, the article concludes that the law of accountability necessitates a new approach, such as a non-compliance mechanism or hybrid system combining elements of multiple layers. Finally, the article calls for immediate legislative actions.",
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Transboundary Environmental Harm in the Arctic – In Search of Accountability for an Oil Spill. / Penttilä, Outi Riikka.

In: Yearbook of Polar Law, Vol. 10, No. 1, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - Recently, the Arctic has transformed from a peripheral region to an area of great interest, for instance in terms of oil drilling. Nonetheless, no legal instrument has addressed the matter of accountability for transfrontier oil pollution damage. This article accordingly evaluates whether the current legal constructs, meaning State responsibility, international liability, civil liability regimes, and multilateral environmental agreements, allow accountability to be established for transboundary environmental harm resulting from hydrocarbon exploitation in the Arctic. It also examines whether these constructions could serve as the basis for future legislative actions. This article treats these four constructions as layers of accountability. After examining all of the layers in their current formulation, this article asserts that the existing layers cannot establish accountability for transboundary environmental damage in the Arctic, nor do they as such offer an effective way to regulate accountability in the future. Therefore, the article concludes that the law of accountability necessitates a new approach, such as a non-compliance mechanism or hybrid system combining elements of multiple layers. Finally, the article calls for immediate legislative actions.

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