UNCLOS unlikely to have unique impact on international climate change law
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The relationship between the LOSC and climate change is not clear-cut, despite its obvious importance. Nevertheless, it is doubtful whether viewing climate change through the law of the marine environment greatly alters the overall picture. At best it provides a vehicle for compulsory dispute settlement notably lacking in the UNFCCC regime. Realistically, while the LOSC may import any newly agreed standards for the control of GHGs, it is not a substitute for further agreement within the UNFCCC framework.
Opponents argue that UNCLOS's provisions calling for states to reduce pollution through "best practicable means" could be used as a "backdoor" to force environmental treaties on the U.S. However, legal scholars and State Department officials have concluded that the convention only binds the United States to act in accordance with its own laws or appropriately ratified international agreements and cannot be used as a “back door” to compel enforcement of international agreements the Senate has not ratified.