In recent years, global environmental problems have become more and more serious. A range of environmental issues have produced great impact and influence to the international community, including international politics, economy and cultural life. And it has become the major international issue which has direct relevance to human survival and development. In this context, the traditional concept of state sovereignty has been severely impacted, which has become a noticeable phenomenon in the field of international politics and has aroused the general attention of the whole world.
As the cornerstone of international relations, national sovereignty used to be unshakable, but now it also faces the challenges and impacts of environmental crisis. Undoubtedly, the growing environmental problems pose a challenge to the traditional principle of state sovereignty. The so-called global environmental issues, refers to those issues beyond national and regional boundaries caused by the effect of human activities on the global environment, and are related to human survival and development. In recent years, a series of global environmental issues, such as air and space degradation, water pollution, soil degradation, deforestation and destruction of biological diversity, solid waste and nuclear pollution, are becoming increasingly serious and posing a great threat to human survival and development. And how to deal with these global environmental problems is closely related to the current and long-term interests of all mankind. This universally interdependent nature inherently requires people to overcome the prejudices of nations, peoples, groups. They should transcend the ideological differences and strengthen cooperation to promote global environment. In this sense, environmental issues pose a challenge to the traditional principle of state sovereignty.
Influence of environmental problems on state sovereignty is not merely weakening or strengthening, but multifaceted. First of all, it reinforces the sovereignty of some strong states, and even in a sense becomes the pretext for some countries to focus on extraterritorial jurisdiction. And this also leads to the tendency of unilateralism and hegemonism in the field of environmental protection. The United States refused to join the Kyoto Protocol is a typical example for this case. Secondly, the crisis weakens the national sovereignty to some extent. As mentioned above, reinforcing the sovereignty of certain states is one side of the coin, while on the other side; there must be some countries pay for the price, which refers to those vulnerable countries, especially to those developing countries whose sovereignty has substantially weakened.
In short, the global environmental crisis has great influence on state sovereignty, which leads people to reconsider the issue of national sovereignty. With the development of the world, the environmental situation puts forward higher requirements to each state all over the world. Each country can adhere to their national independence and state sovereignty, but at the same time; they should adjust the principle of the traditional state sovereignty in the area of environmental law to actively adapt to the trend of the times. They should participate in various international mechanisms and achieve international cooperation under the guidance of globalism, which means multilateralism.