Political and legal institutions and communications have played an integral role in the development and provision of legitimacy in contemporary societies. This has been through the development of obligatory collective decisions, general legal principles, exercise of political power, and resolution of conflicts. In the new global system, these legal and political institutions have created and conveyed social values, political power, and social meaning in every sector of the society. Both of the institutions are considered as legitimate because they have been established on core values that are related to essential freedoms, the rule of law, and democracy.
Aspects of a New Global System:
Modern societies across the globe are faced with critical issues and problems that are dealt with at the global level by the establishment of laws and policies, which are developed in various institutions. Global law and politics has had a significant impact on various areas including the environment, security, trade, human rights, and the economy. Notably, both legal and political institutions and communications are closely associated with the nation-state framework in this period of modernity. Consequently, these institutions and communications are restricted to the social, cultural, environmental, and historical frame of reference.
In the workings of the new global system, legal and political processes are constantly portrayed by inter- and transnational processes (Sand, n.d.). The use of inter- and transnational procedures in the current legal and political processes is because of the existing numerous problems that must be addressed across national borders. Therefore, these processes and institutions are major portions of comprehensive transformations in society. As such, they are critical for the society's perception of legitimacy, social confidence, the exercise of power, social integration, and efficiency.
Globalization and Global Law and Politics:
Through its numerous manifestations and implications, globalization is a multi-faceted series of processes that has affected all aspects of life. Some of the major areas where globalization has had a profound impact on include the legal profession, global politics and law, and legal education. Due to globalization, people in the modern society live in a politically divided society that is characterized by environmental and legal issues as well as widespread conflicts and war.
Globalization processes have contributed to more cultural, economic, and technological developments at the international level that have shaped the pre-conditions for legal and political institutions. The new pre-conditions for legal and political institutions have resulted in international and transnational processes, institutions, and dynamics that enhance, exceed and change the conventional legal and political processes.
Due to its impact on legal and political processes, globalization has also influenced the understanding of law and politics. One of the major ways with which globalization has affected the understanding of law and politics is on the aspect of international law. Global law is currently considered on the basis of sovereign equality of states as envisioned in a globalized world. The sovereign equality of international law is characterized by markets that attempt to escape regulatory state powers and the formulation of political agendas by non-governmental actors (Paulus, 2000).
Globalization has impacted the understanding of law and politics through its impact on political and legal decision-making processes. International law and politics is no longer based on traditional framework as globalization has transformed the perception of legitimate and fair rules and political decisions.
Gas Flaring and Oil Spillage in the Niger Delta:
The Niger Delta, which has a population of 30 million people, is considered as one of the most significant ecosystems across the globe and produces a significant percentage of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings. Actually, the region has been declared as an important zone for the conservation of the Western Coast of Africa because of its extraordinary biodiversity. Some of the major events in the daily life of residents of the Niger Delta region include oily water, dead fish, and gas flares.
While there is an established law against gas flaring in Nigeria, gas flaring is common in the Niger Delta because of constant violations of this law. These violations largely occur because oil companies in Nigeria function with less or no supervision from the government. This is despite of the government's partial ownership of subsidiaries of all the multinational oil corporations that operate in Nigeria.
Since it was discovered approximately 50 years ago, the production of oil in the Niger Delta area has continued to have devastating impacts on the country's largest wetland region. The practice of flaring natural gas from oil fields because of the production of crude oil is common within the Niger Delta area and began with the discovery of oil production in the region. Nigeria is regarded as the biggest gas flarer across the globe because of the more gas flaring in the Niger Delta than anywhere else in the world.
The other major oil spill that occurred recently is the BP oil spill that is regarded as the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States (Ejikeme, 2010). BP oil spill spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for 86 days because of the company's damaged well. This spillage dumped approximately 200 million gallons of crude into important ecosystems in the United States.
As oil companies turn to increasingly deep oceans and complex environments to produce oil, there is a likelihood of an increase in oil spillage. Based on trends in Nigeria, Shell Company has been reporting a double increase in oil spillage annually since 2008. While the company operates in over 100 countries, 40% of its oil spillages occur in Nigeria.
The major effect of oil spill across the globe is the economic costs that are involved in clean up the spills. It's reported that the devastating oil spills by Shell and other multinational companies in the world for the past five decades will cost $1 billion to clean up (Vidal, 2011). This is regardless of the economic growth and benefits that are brought by the production of crude oil to a country. The huge amount required to clean these successive oil spills in the world is because of the environmental, wildlife, and human health impacts that they cause.
Impact of Oil Spillages:
Oil spillages and gas flaring across the world have devastating effects on the environment, wildlife, and human populations in regions or areas where they occur. While no comprehensive analysis has been conducted on the effects of gas flaring and oil spillage, some of the major impacts of the oil spillage in the Niger Delta area include:
Increased Emission of Greenhouse Gases:
One of the major environmental impacts of gas flaring and oil spillage in the Niger Delta region is the increase in the emission of greenhouse gases. As oil spillage in the Niger Delta has lasted since the commencement of oil exploration in 1958, the region has contributed to more greenhouse gases as compared to the entire sub-Saharan Africa region. Currently, the Niger Delta region has over 100 gas flaring sites with some that have been burning continuously for four decades. The resultant flares have contributed to increased emission of greenhouse gases that result in climate change.
In addition to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the oil spillage in the Niger Delta area has resulted in air pollution. The gas flares contribute to air pollution because they consist of widely-recognized toxins like benzene that normally pollute the air. Actually communities across societies believe that gas flaring and oil spill not only cause severe air pollution but it leads to destruction of fauna and flora.
Damages to Wildlife:
Gas flaring and oil spill have the capability of causing devastating and far-reaching damages to wildlife, particularly birds. While these effects on wildlife may be accidental or intentional, some wildlife experience slight changes in short-term health problems and behaviors. Additional effects on wildlife include immediate acute toxic effects, death, and long-term dependence on duration, route, and concentration of exposure.
Destruction of Lives and Property:
The major effect of gas flaring and oil spill on indigenous people in the Niger Delta area is destruction lives and property. Oil spill and gas flaring contribute to destruction of lives and property through environmental effects. For instance, due to the resultant climate change, gas flaring and oil spill leads to food insecurity, increasing costs of extreme weather damage, and the increase in the risk of diseases. Indigenous people in this region complain of rain corroding their buildings, intense heat, roaring noise, and respiratory problems like asthma because of the gas flare (Idris, n.d.).
Role of NGO's, Multinational Corporations and State Institutions:
The ongoing gas flaring and oil spill has revealed how non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, and state institutions have failed to play their role in protecting the interests of communities and the environment. Non-governmental organizations have failed in implementing strategies that could help in protecting the community and the environment. State institutions have employed a perceived double standard in efforts to fight the spillage. Due to deteriorating relationships with the government and communities, multinational companies have hugely failed in protecting the community and the environment. For instance,…