Keywords: conflict resolution, natural capital, fair division, disputes, environmental resources
Fairness in the face of conflict: dividing environmental assets and obligations
The growing scarcity of natural capital fuels disputes over borders and use rights. Global industrialisation increases the creation of toxic waste while environmental consciousness intensifies the calls for abatement. Litigation is a costly cure. In the United States of America, expenditures on Superfund litigation have exceeded $10 billion. Remedies for excessive legal costs include settlement-encouraging civil rules and methods of fair division. A better understanding of the impediments to fair and timely settlement is needed to guide the formation of new conflict resolution techniques and distinguish those with merit. This article surveys current approaches to conflict and the necessary conditions for their success. It is the first to explain how relatively new methods including the Sincerity Rule and Final Offer Auctions can equitably divide expenditures on environmental obligations without trial. Successful remedies will promote the expediency of clean-up efforts and reduce the burden of conflicts over natural capital.