As the United Nations takes an increasingly dominant role in guiding the climate change debate, there is renewed interest in a longstanding proposal for the creation of an international court to try environmental crimes.
But some diplomats and environmentalists are sceptical whether such a court will have the political support of the overwhelming majority of the U.N.'s 192 member states for it to be a reality.
"It took ages for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal," says one Third World diplomat, "and a world court for environmental crimes can take generations."
Satish Kumar, an avowed environmentalist and editor of the London-based environmental magazine Resurgence, is a strong advocate of such a court.
"We have no right to make waste," he argues. "And if I dump my waste on your house, it's a crime. You can take me to court."
"But if we put our waste on nature, nature can't take us to court? Nature should have a right to take us to court. And the United Nations should establish a nature court," Kumar told IPS.
He pointed out that environmental crimes -- from the dumping of toxic wastes to the military destruction of natural resources -- should be deemed "crimes against nature"....MORE