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On Ethical Dilemma of Environmental Institutions and Institutional Dilemma of Environmental Ethics: A Study of New Environment Protection Law

Zeng Jianping;Zou Pingling;  
The essence of environment legislation is to transform some thoughts of environmental ethics to operable institutions or laws concerned with environment protection. But there are two dilemmas. The first is ethical dilemma of environmental institutions. The existing anthropocentric and non- anthropocentric environmental ethics cannot provide legitimacy for environmental institution or environmental legislation. The second is institutional dilemma of environmental ethics. The existing environmental ethic cannot be transformed to operable institutions or laws easily.The New Environment Protection Law still fails to overcome the two dilemmas, but it achieves some important breakthroughs at both levels of conception and operation. At the conception level, the New Environment Protection Law introduces and upholds the idea of ecological civilization. Different from non-anthropocentrism which denies subjective value of human and priority of human over nature and other species, and also different from the strong-type anthropocentrism which only sees nature and other species as pure economic resources, the concept of"ecological civilization"is a weak-type anthropocentrism which insists on human's value priority over nature and other species and absorbs some ideas and principles of non-anthropocentrism. At the level of operation, the New Environment Protection Law clarifies environmental rights and liabilities and is more explicit in environmental rights and liabilities and harsher in environmental damage activities punishment. But there exist some deficiencies in the New Environment Protection Law, such as the lack of potency levels, detailed regulations and unstressed environment rights awareness.
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