Stockholm Conference on Environmental
Law and Justice,  6-9 September 2006

Richard Falk (Santa Barbara) - Justice in the Second Cycle of Ecological Urgency

In important respects the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment both gave impetus to environmentalism as a global movement and revealed deep cleavages as to environmental justice. Third World countries insisted that their development opportunities not be impaired, and the governments of powerful countries, especially the United States, used its leverage to keep war off the Stockholm agenda.

We are now experiencing a second cycle of ecological urgency that is focused on global warming and the squeeze on petroleum prices and supply. It is of great importance for the human future that these issues be addressed so as to minimize threats of environmental catastrophe and to ensure an equitable approach to adjustment costs associated especially with the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gasses and the transition to a post-petroleum world economy. The sooner there emerges an accurate appreciation of the severity of the challenges, the better the prospect for humane and fair patterns of adjustment. This second cycle of ecological urgency cannot be solved without also addressing issues associated with global governance and the global democratic deficit.




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