Master of Laws




Valerie Oosterveld, Wade Wright


This paper evaluates Canada’s obligations under customary international law to abide by the duty to prevent transboundary harm. The question asked is whether Canada has obligations stemming from the duty of prevention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Under the duty, states are required to make a due diligent effort to reduce activities that cause harm in other states. This effort does not necessitate an actual cessation of a particular activity. Therefore, this paper argues that the duty of prevention can be applied in the context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions; hence, Canada is obligated to take the necessary steps to prevent the harms caused by climate change. In particular, this paper claims that carbon pricing, which Canada has adopted through the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, is one way to abide by the duty of prevention.