Ex-post and ex-ante [legal] approaches to climate change threats to the international community

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The negative effects of climate change, such as an increasing rise in sea levels, pose new threats to the international community. However, do they constitute threats to the international peace and security ex Article 39 of the United Nations (UN) Charter? The goal of this article is to answer this question and to determine which path the international community should take in order to efficiently tackle climate change threats: an ex-post approach or an ex-ante approach. The ex-post approach analyses the international legal and political frameworks in which future climate change-related threats may be addressed by the international community. In particular, it studies whether the system provided for in Chapter 7 of the UN Charter would be able to deal with environmental-related threats. The ex-ante approach focuses on what the international community should do today in order to prevent climate change threats from occurring. It argues that States must change their economic behaviour and in some cases give priority to environmental interests over commercial interests. In conclusion, taking into account the current state of international affairs, it is unlikely that the international community will follow the ex-ante approach in the short term. Therefore, this paper concludes that legal and political scholars must take action within the ex-post approach in order to improve the current international community response to climate change threats, in particular by improving the maintenance of international peace and security system provided for in the UN Charter Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-238
Number of pages30
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Environmental Law
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • United Nations
  • charter
  • international security
  • global warming
  • international trade


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