The Banning of Hostile Environmental Modification in the ENMOD Convention - Emily Crawford
In this episode, Dr Simon McKenzie talks with Associate Professor Emily Crawford about the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques – known as the ENMOD Convention. This Convention – adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1976 and ratified by 78 States – prohibits weaponising the natural environment against other State parties.
However, the technology it regulates – the artificial creation of natural phenomena like earthquakes, cyclones, or tsunamis for hostile purposes – has never been developed or used. This technology is like something out of science fiction. This episode examines how this striking Convention came to be, what the drafters thought it might cover, and why they thought it was a useful new treaty for the law of war.
Emily Crawford is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney Law School, where she teaches and researches in international law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. She has published widely in the field of international humanitarian law, including two monographs (The Treatment of Combatants and Insurgents under the Law of Armed Conflict (OUP 2010) and Identifying the Enemy: Civilian Participation in Hostilities (OUP 2015)) and a textbook (International Humanitarian Law (with Alison Pert, 2nd edition, CUP 2020)), and is currently working on her third monograph, on the impact of non-binding instruments in international humanitarian law. She is an associate of the Sydney Centre for International Law at the University of Sydney, and a co-editor of the Journal of International Humanitarian Studies.
- Emily Crawford, 'Accounting for the ENMOD Convention: Cold War Influences on the Origins and Development of the 1976 Convention on Environmental Modification Techniques' in M. Craven, S. Pahuja, & G. Simpson (Eds.), International Law and the Cold War (2019, Cambridge University Press), 81-97.
- James Fleming, Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control (2010, Columbia University Press).