Transports et droit international de l'environnement: en quete d'une approche integree?

Translated title of the contribution: Transport and international environmental law: Towards an integrated approach?

Virginie Barral

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


There is no denying the intimate link between transport and the environment. Beyond marine oil pollution, road transport, aviation and railway transport all create noise pollution. Roads and railways affect biodiversity and the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to road traffic and aviation significantly contribute to climate change. Conversely, a number of environmental modifications threaten, and create challenges to, the transport sector. Climate change in particular can affect transport infrastructure and transport security. Yet, aside from maritime transport, the transport sector remains largely unscathed by existing international environmental regulations. International environmental law, it seems, is yet to fully embrace and regulate the issues related to the transport sector. The necessity, or at least the benefits, of an integrated and multilateral transport approach within international environmental law is nevertheless slowly emerging. This evolution seems to be prompted by two key phenomena. Firstly, the politico-legal phenomenon of sustainable development, and specifically the adoption in 2015 by the United Nations of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030, highlights the contribution the transport sector can make towards their achievement and, in this context, the benefits of an integrated approach. Secondly, the climate change phenomenon, including the emissions reduction obligations deriving from the existing legal framework, underlines for its part the necessity of multilateral cooperation in the design of environmental transport regulations. This emerging awareness does not yet, however, translate into concrete legal initiatives. Not only do institutional efforts remain limited, but the development of a multilateral environmental approach for the transport sector also faces a number of obstacles. In this context, this paper aims to evidence the emerging awareness of the benefits and necessity of an integrated approach for the transport sector within the framework of sustainable development. It further explores the - as yet limited character of - existing multilateral initiatives concerned with the link between transport and the environment. Finally, to illustrate the persisting obstacles to a multilateral approach and the difficulties this can give rise to, especially in the form of growing unilateral measures, the paper examines the impact of global climate change law on the international aviation sector.
Translated title of the contributionTransport and international environmental law: Towards an integrated approach?
Original languageFrench
Title of host publicationTransports et droit international public
EditorsSaida El Boudouhi
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-2-233-00911-1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2019


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