Legal Gaps and Complexities of Polar Pollution in an Arctic Context

Dr Seita Romppanen1

1Law School, Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL), University Of Eastern Finland (UEF), Joensuu, Finland

The presentation discusses the legal and regulatory questions arising under emerging scientific evidence regarding polar pollution. Both Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems are facing an ever-increasing burden of environmental harm from anthropogenic activities taking place outside and within the poles. Against a polar framework, the presentation focuses on an Arctic context. The regulatory instruments currently governing of polar and especially Arctic pollution are identified and discussed. What are the key strengths and weaknesses, or gaps, in the existing regulatory framework? What kind of international legal complex is necessary to effectively regulate and mitigate polar, and particularly Arctic, pollution? In its approach, the presentation also notes the international dimension of polar law and the polar dimension of international law. The presentation finish with suggestions towards potential regulatory pathways to strengthen approaches to polar and especially Arctic pollution. As activities outside the polar regions having an influence on polar pollution, the challenge of polar pollution can only be resolved through a regulatory regime that engages global as well as polar actors.

The abstract is based on a book chapter written jointly with Dr. Sabaa Khan for The EE Research Handbook on Polar Law (eds. K. Scott and D. VanderZwaag).


Dr. Seita Romppanen is Senior Lecturer in international Environmental Law from the Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL), University Of Eastern Finland (UEF) Law School. She directs the first Nordic joint-master degree programme on Environmental Law together with two other Nordic law faculties. Her published and ongoing research focuses on various themes under international and EU environmental law, such as EU climate law, circular bioeconomy and Arctic law.

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