Ecologic Institute and the Oeko-Institute have launched a project to analyse the ambition level of the 2040 target. The project also examines the impacts of a new 2040 target on EU Member States, sectors, and instruments.
The aim of the project is to discuss the current state of knowledge and future role of environmental provisions in free trade agreements. The focus is particularly on a literature review of the last ten years, as well as the (legal) analysis of a global selection of free trade agreements.
As part of the implementation of its NDC, the Chinese government is focusing on further developing its climate legislation, which includes the design of a Chinese climate legislation framework. Through the climate legislation workstream of the project "Sino-German Cooperation on Climate Change – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)", the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supports the Chinese side by strengthening exchange between experts and stakeholders from the two countries and providing information on German and EU experience in this field.
In this project, Ecologic Institute, Öko-Institut and Schnittstelle Boden develop legal options for revising the German Federal Soil Act and draft potential corresponding amendments. This is one of the objectives in the German Government's 2021 Coalition Agreement and the research is funded by the German Environment Agency.
The transition to renewable energies and persistent bottlenecks in the German transmission grid represent key challenges for the German electricity supply system in terms of the need for security of supply. A so-called capacity mechanism could be an important solution to this. On behalf of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) Amprion GmbH, TenneT TSO GmbH, 50Hertz Transmission GmbH and TransnetBW GmbH, the foundations of a capacity mechanism for the German electricity market that is compatible with the European legal framework for the energy market and European state aid law are therefore to be developed. In an interdisciplinary research team led by Consentec, the Ecologic Institute is responsible for examining energy law issues in the project.
The Covid-19 pandemic and, most recently, the war that has erupted in Ukraine have shown that such crises can have a major impact on European emissions trading. This raises the central question: Can and must the European emissions trading system become more crisis-proof? In the present project, concrete crisis scenarios are developed that could put a strain on the European emissions trading system (EU ETS). This is followed by an analysis of the possibilities that the existing laws and regulations offer for reacting to such crises. The further aim of the project is to show ways to improve the handling of crises within the trading system.
In the course of the "European Green Deal", the greenhouse gas emission allowances cap in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) was tightened in order to achieve the set target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. This leads to a higher risk of relocation of production sites to locations outside the EU ETS (so-called carbon leakage) by energy-intensive industries. The European Green Deal therefore considers a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). This mechanism is intended both to counteract the relocation of production sites and to promote the decarbonisation of CO2-intensive industry. The EU Commission presented a regulatory proposal for the introduction of such a mechanism on 14 July 2021. Within the framework of the research project, the possibilities of a CO2 compensation mechanism (CBAM) that is permissible under international, trade and European law is investigated, evaluated and presented. The work was carried out jointly by a consortium consisting of Ecologic Institute, Oeko-Institut and Prof. Dr. Michael Mehling.
Climate lawsuits have become a frequently chosen tool in the fight for more ambitious climate policies in recent years. In the extensive reporting on this topic, one aspect has so far been neglected: the differences between the jurisprudence in the Global South and the Global North. To address the related issues, Verfassungsblog, Völkerrechtsblog and the journal World Comparative Law (WCL) in cooperation with the Ecologic Institute are organizing an online symposium on the subject of "Comparative Climate Litigation in North-South Perspective".
Ecologic Institute, together with the Oeko-Institut and Prof. Dr. Klinski of the HWR Berlin, supports the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) in the preparation of negotiations at the EU level, the implementation of EU law, and the further development of the national legal framework. The support is provided by elaborating legal issues including economic and other effects as well as by ad hoc analyses.
Against the backdrop of global supply chains, global environmental crises and climate change, the discussion on interrelations between trade and sustainability has increasingly come to the fore. Ecologic Institute supports the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) in developing politically enforceable options to strengthen sustainability obligations in trade agreements.
Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues. Calls for a global treaty to tackle plastic pollution have increased over the last years, discussions will continue at the next sessions of the UN Environment Assembly in February 2022. After the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics concluded its work in November 2020, various countries have started to prepare positions and forge alliances in preparation of these pending discussions.
In 2019, the EU and the countries of the South American trade bloc Mercosur concluded negotiations on a trade agreement. The negotiated text of the agreement includes a chapter on trade and sustainability. The rules on forest protection are weak, however, and the agreement does not provide for sanctions for violations of sustainability-related commitments, either. Against this backdrop, Ralph Bodle and Christiane Gerstetter, both Senior Fellows at the Ecologic Institute, analyse legal options for strengthening forest protection in the agreement. The legal analysis was compiled on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU).
Ecologic Institute, together with partners, will develop recommendations on how environmental offences can be better prevented in Germany through deterrent sanctions. The project first investigates at a theoretical level under which conditions a certain sanction, such as a prison sentence, has a deterrent effect against environmental law violations. These theoretical considerations are substantiated by means of case studies on illegal waste disposal and disposal of waste by ships on the sea. On this basis, the research team will develop recommendations for policies as well as practical measures to improve enforcement.
This research project explored whether strengthening the concept of extended product responsibility in international law has the potential of noticeably improving waste management in the Global South. The concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) aimed at taking into account waste management issues during the entire life cycle of a product (cradle-to-grave approach). Its main purpose was to reduce the costs of waste management for local authorities and taxpayers, while at the same time providing incentives for producers to design their products so that they are easier to recycle and dispose of in an environmentally sound manner, generating less waste overall.