The EU has set ambitious targets to raise the share of renewable energies, particularly biofuels. This article, written by Stephanie Schlegel and Timo Kaphengst, discusses the role that bioenergy plays in the European policy context and the approach the EU is currently following to ensure the sustainability of biofuels. It addresses the limits of the chosen approach, concluding that certification schemes can not serve as the only safeguard for sustainable bioenergy but need to be complemented by other tools and policies.Read more
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Integrated assessment is rapidly spreading as a practice at different levels of governance. However, the choice of using certain tools in an assessment is often not well founded. In this paper, Wouter de Ridder, John Turnpenny, Måns Nilsson and Anneke von Raggamby present a framework that scientifically underpins the role of, and thus choice of, tools within an integrated assessment.
Legal Aspects of a Link between Regional Carbon Markets in Europe and the United States
An earlier article by Michael Mehling in American University’s Sustainable Development Law and Policy journal assessed the prospects and legal implications of a link between regional trading systems in the US and the EU emissions trading system, highlighting the relevance of the respective constitutional and legal frameworks for such a link. Read more
The world's natural resources face increasing pressure due to rapid population and economic growth. Ensuring sustainable use of natural resources will require on the one hand a reduction in resource use, as well as strong, efficient and internationally valid standards. The current discussion on certification schemes for biofuels serves as a starting-point for the discussion regarding the possibilities and ways to extend a global sustainability standard with a broad coverage of natural resources. This article by Stephanie Schlegel and Timo Kaphengst outlines how a global sustainability standard for natural resources (NRS) can be designed.Read more
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is the most recent piece in the current regime complex on plant genetic resources. In their article for the Journal of World Intellectual Property, Christiane Gerstetter, Benjamin Görlach, Kirsten Neumann and Dora Schaffrin investigate the legal relationship between the ITPGRFA, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the TRIPS Agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Acts of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).Read more
Germany has a very good record on water services. Despite high connection rates and almost full cost recovery, the total annual costs for consumers are at the same level or even cheaper than in other countries. This is an outcome of the specific way in which water management is organised in Germany. This contribution by R. Andreas Kraemer, Britta Pielen and Colette de Roo endeavours to explain the practice of municipal enterprises embedded in Germany’s federal structures, the levels of water services, and reveals why water services can be as good and as cheap as they are. Read more
Biomass constitutes an important but limited renewable energy source for the future. In this article Timo Kaphengst discusses sustainability aspects of biomass use for bioenergy in the European context. The article is available for download.
Since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, climate protection and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are binding targets for many countries. However, total global emissions have not reached intended targets, indicated by the continued increase in CO2, which is the most significant greenhouse gas. In 2006 total global CO2 emissions reached 29 Billion tonnes, representing a 2.6% increase over the preceding year and an increase of nearly a third from 1990. In his report, Dr. Hans-Joachim Ziesing, Senior Policy Advisor at Ecologic, presents the development of emissions in the EU and proposes a common implementation of climate protection targets to insure the EU's leading role in climate protection. Read more
The European Emissions Trading System is a central pillar of German climate policy. After its introduction in 2005, some weak points, however, became obvious so that great hopes were pinned on the National Allocation Plan for the second trading period (NAP II). In their article for DowJones TradeNews Emissions, Helen Lückge and Camilla Bausch discuss if the German NAP II fulfills its economic objectives.
The First Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
In the end of 2005 the parties to the Kyoto Protocol convened to decide on a number of operational aspects of the international climate regime. More importantly, they also agreed to launch consultations on future mitigation commitments for the period after 2012, when the current "Kyoto targets" expire. Dr. Camilla Bausch and Michael Mehling analyse the outcome of the meeting in an article and discuss the summit’s significance as a first step in the further evolution of the international climate regime.Read more