Abstract:This article is about a problem only just becoming visible: the legitimacy of international environmental law, and more specifically, the perception that the international environmental process is insufficiently democratic. Until now, international lawyers have tended to focus on what environmental standards are needed and how those standards can
be made effective. But as decision-making authority gravitates from the national to the international level, the question of legitimacy will likely emerge from the shadows and become a central issue in international environmental law. This article seeks to clarify the nature of the legitimacy challenge and to survey possible sources of legitimacy for international institutions.