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Publications – Ecologic Legal

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A European Climate Law – What Should It Look Like?

Ursula von der Leyen, the new President of the European Commission, took office today, on 1 December 2019. As one of her first proposals, she promised to propose a European Climate Law in the first 100 days of her term in office. This 'Law' is a critical step to make Europe climate neutral. It can close gaps in existing EU climate rules. These gaps will impede the EU from becoming climate neutral before 2050. A new paper by Ecologic Institute discusses what a European Climate Law should look like, and how it could close existing gaps. The paper is available for download.Read more

A Treaty on Plastic Waste

Discussion paper
The discussion paper presents the rationale for a new treaty on tackling plastic waste and highlights its possible added value. The objective would be to reduce marine plastic litter through a comprehensive approach that also includes land-based sources, a life cycle approach to plastic and is open to future developments. The purpose would not be to prohibit plastics as such.Read more

The Future of the EU – Background Paper

Compromises for expanding ordinary legislative procedure and majority voting in climate and energy policies
The EU adopts essential climate issues – such as carbon taxation – by special legislative procedures. This means that the European Parliament is not an equal co-legislator and the Council decides by unanimous vote, providing each Member State with a veto. This is a problem because the urgency of climate action requires swift and bold EU action. EU climate action cannot afford a governance structure that allows one Member State to hold all others hostage in essential areas of climate action. A new Ecologic paper explores how to address this problem.Read more

Status quo und Weiterentwicklung des Umweltstrafrechts und anderer Sanktionen

Instrumente zur Verbesserung der Befolgung von Umweltrecht (Compliance)
A 2018 report co-published by Interpol estimates the annual turnover generated by environmental crime at 110 - 281 billion US dollars. Environmental crime causes significant damage to the environment and public health. This report presents insights on environmental criminal law and its application in Germany. It is the result of a research project carried out by Ecologic Institute for the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt). The report is available for download.Read more

Landesklimaschutzgesetze in Deutschland

Überblick und Bedeutung für ein Klimaschutzgesetz des Bundes
In the current debate about a Federal Climate Change Act, people often overlook that in Germany about half of the federal states already have a climate change law as a comprehensive legal framework. In a study for WWF Germany, Ecologic Institute gives an overview over core elements of federal climate change laws and their impact on a potential Federal Climate Change Act. The study underlines the added value of such climate change laws. It concludes that climate change laws at the federal and state levels are not only compatible but strengthen each other. The study can be downloaded at the WWF website.Read more

Klimaschutzgesetze in Europa

Überblick und Bedeutung für ein deutsches Klimaschutzgesetz
This study by Ecologic Institute shows that Germany can learn a lot from experiences made in its neighbouring countries to give its climate policies a robust framework and thus make it more reliable, also for investments in climate-friendly measures. At the same time, Germany could establish a new standard through legislation adapted to the latest EU requirements, which would than again serve as an example for our neighbours.Read more

Geeignete Rechtsinstrumente für die nationale Umsetzung der bodenbezogenen sustainable development goals, insbesondere des Ziels einer "land degradation neutral world"

Abschlussbericht
The research report by Ecologic Institute provides a legal assessment of whether German law is suitable to achieve the sustainable development goal "land degradation neutral word" (LDN) by 2030, and recommends options for improvement. The analysis focuses on rules for erosion, sealing by human settlement and pollution by industry. The report also compiles and explains key insights and lessons learned in English, as a contribution to the international discussion on implementing LDN. The report is available for download.Read more

How Can We Make the Energiewende Digital and Sustainable?

The Energiewende means a transition from the old, nuclear-and-coal based, to a sustainable and digitalized energy system. This is a complex endeavor: the number of actors involved increases and their functions overlap. While digital technologies bring automation and potential for relief, they are an ambivalent phenomenon: with no comprehensive laws on data protection, it is unclear what is going to happen to the tremendous amount of data collected by digital appliances. Besides, technologies like blockchain are often so energy-intensive that they eat up the amount of resources that they are trying to save. Therefore, political design must actively shape a digital and ecologically sustainable energy transition – it will not happen by itself.Read more

A Climate Law for Europe

Making the Paris Agreement Real
The EU's current rules on climate action are comprehensive and detailed. However, they lack many of these features. In this sense, the existing EU acquis falls short of what countries and regions have adopted. It also falls short of what the full implementation of the Paris Agreement implies. The Regulation on Governance for the Energy Union and Climate Action addresses a number of existing shortcomings. It is a strong foundation for a Climate Law for Europe. However, gaps remain that should be filled in a reform. These are the main findings of a recently updated paper of Ecologic Institute, which is available for download.Read more

Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform

potential governance arrangements under the Paris Agreement
The Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIP Platform) was established in Paris in 2015, but its operationalization is still ongoing. The LCIP Platform could provide an important next step towards a nuanced inclusion of specific non-Party stakeholders in the UNFCCC process. Based on the negotiation process for the Platform and on current modes of participation of non-Party stakeholders, this report develops a toolkit of governance elements for the Platform. The report, written by Arne Riedel and Ralph Bodle, both of Ecologic Institute, is available for download.Read more

Substance and Style – How the WTO Adjudicators Legitimize their Decisions

The dispute settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is one of the most active international courts. How the WTO's adjudicators decide cases is the topic of a book chapter authored by Christiane Gerstetter, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute. The book, entiteld "The Judicialization of International Law: A Mixed Blessing?" is edited by Andreas Follesdal and Geir Ulfstein and published by Oxford University Press. It deals with the influence of decisions by international courts on international law.Read more

Implementing Land Degradation Neutrality at National Level

Legal Instruments in Germany
In this chapter Ecologic Institute's Dr. Ralph Bodle analyses the legal instruments and regulatory approaches in German law for achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN). Section 1 outlines the conceptual components of LDN that the law has to address: preventing degradation, restoring degraded land, offsetting degradation at project level and land-use planning and management. Section 2 analyses which legal mechanisms German law provides to address all conceptual components of LDN. The assessment and conclusion in Sect. 3 argue that despite a range of legal provisions and instruments in German law that protect soil, the absence of an overarching holistic concept is a fundamental shortcoming also with regard to LDN.Read more

Arctic Summer College Yearbook

An Interdisciplinary Look into Arctic Sustainable Development
This book, edited by Ecologic Institute's Brendan O’Donnell, Max Gruenig, and Arne Riedel, highlights both the diversity of perspectives and approaches to Arctic research and the inherent interdisciplinary nature of studying and understanding this incomparable region. The chapters are divided into four liberally-defined sections to provide space for dynamic interpretation and dialogue in search of sustainable solutions to the issues facing the Arctic. From governance to technology, scientific research to social systems, human health to economic development, the authors discuss fundamental questions while looking toward the Arctic’s future. Whether the reader is well-versed in the history and complexity of Arctic policy or looking for an insightful introduction to the vast world of Arctic research, everyone will find answers that lead to new questions and even more discoveries in these pages, laying the foundation for tomorrow’s discussion on the future of the Arctic.Read more

The Enforcement of Consumer Rights in Trade Agreements

Cross-border trade and the rules governing it impact consumers. Trade has benefits for consumers, such as access to goods not available domestically. Yet it also has certain risks, such as exposure to traded goods that may be dangerous. Against this background, consumer organisations on both sides of the Atlantic have been discussing what a consumer-friendly trade policy could look like. Christiane Gerstetter and Lena Donat of Ecologic Institute's Legal Team have compiled a study examining what complaint mechanisms for consumer organisations concerning international trade agreements could look like. Read more

Environmental Criminal Law in Germany

As an output of the research project "European Union Action to Fight Environmental Crime" (EFFACE), which was coordinated by Ecologic Institute, an edited volume entitled "Environmental Crime in Europe" was published by Hart Publishing. Dr. Stephan Sina, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, contributed a chapter on environmental crime in Germany. In this chapter, he describes the legal framework on environmental crime in Germany and assesses its conformity with the EU's Environmental Crime Directive. Read more

Energie- und Umweltgovernance in der Arktis

The text book on "Regions and Regionalism in the International Relations" offers a theoretical and conceptual overview as well as comparative insights into a range of regional regulatory models, norms and institutions in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. In a new publication, Arne Riedel, Fellow at Ecologic Institute, outlines the actors and cooperative efforts in the Arctic region and discusses actual regulatory developments, new actors as well as new political challenges. Read more

Consumer Rights in International Trade Agreements

In principle, increased trade resulting from trade agreements can offer consumers access to goods and services that are less expensive or of higher quality. At the same time, there is a risk that rules in trade and investment agreements limit the sovereign right of states to adopt measures for consumer protection at the domestic level. Hence, much depends on how these agreements are designed. A study, compiled by Christiane Gerstetter, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute and Christian Pitschas, provides an overview of consumer-related rights in recent international trade agreements. The study is available fro download.Read more

Regulatory Cooperation under CETA

Implications for Environmental Policies
On 30 October 2016 Canada and the EU signed CETA. Ratification of the agreement will be the next step. A new study by the Ecologic Institute analyses the environmental implications of regulatory cooperation under CETA. The study finds that CETA establishes a comprehensive institutional framework for regulatory cooperation between Canada and the EU and sets primarily procedural obligations. CETA does not contain detailed obligations that predetermine specific outcomes of regulatory cooperation. Regulatory cooperation under CETA is voluntary. Regulatory cooperation under CETA has a focus on trade liberalisation and consistency of standards. It does not focus on enhancing environmental protection. The study is available for download.Read more

EU Effort Sharing after 2020

Review and Ratcheting Up EU Climate Targets
The Paris Agreement requires Parties to scale up their commitments every five years, i.e., with each consecutive "nationally determined contribution" (NDC). The recent proposal of the EU Commission for an Effort Sharing Regulation is essential for the EU to meet this obligation. The proposal, however, does not support adequately continuous scaling up of the EU greenhouse gas reduction targets. A new paper from Ecologic Institute discusses ways in which the Effort Sharing Regulation could support the scaling up of EU climate targets. The paper is available for download.Read more

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