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.
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.
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 explores 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) aims at taking into account waste management issues during the entire life cycle of a product (cradle-to-grave approach). Its main purpose is 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.
In order to reduce air pollution, especially in large cities, Vietnam is discussing the introduction of air quality planning and an integrated permit system as part of the revision of its Law on Environmental Protection. Together with the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues, Ecologic Institute supports the legislative process and develops guidelines for the subsequent implementation of the two instruments.
In the project "Knowledge. Transformation. Berlin.", the Ecornet Berlin research network is pursuing the goal of expanding Berlin's pioneering role in innovative approaches for a liveable, climate-neutral and resource-efficient city. Therefore, the research network focuses on the existing strengths and diversity of Berlin, but also on the existing ecological and social challenges. The goal is to expand Berlin's pioneering role in the development of innovative approaches in an innovatively way. To this end, the associated institutes are working on several projects in the thematic fields of social climate transformation, sustainable economies and digitalization.
Without a thorough transformation in the transport sector, the energy transition will not succeed. On the one hand, emissions caused by mobility must be significantly reduced. On the other hand, the two sectors of transport and energy need to be linked. Lower Saxony, where the dominance of car traffic is more pronounced than in other German regions, has initiated many sustainable mobility projects in recent years. Now it is a matter of spreading the word on new mobility concepts. To contribute to this broader goal, the WenaMoNi project carries out a comprehensive cross-sectoral analysis in the field of sustainable mobility in Lower Saxony and then identifies opportunities and obstacles.
Environmental law is only effective if people comply with it. In order to improve compliance assurance of (European) environmental law, an action plan has been adopted at European level. Studies show that compliance with environmental law must also be improved in Germany. Following-up on these ideas, the Ecologic Institute, in cooperation with its partners (GAF AG and Dr. Aron Buzogány), puts them into practice in the project "Legal and technical review of selected questions of compliance assurance at European and national level".
Air pollution is becoming a pressing issue, especially in Vietnam's bigger cities. The Ecologic Institute supports the Vietnamese government in its current revision of the Law on Environmental Protection by researching international experience and providing tailored solutions for the Vietnamese context.
In this project, Ecologic Institute created a 40-page overview of climate protection laws in Europe and their potential contribution to the discussion of a German climate protection law. The overview addresses the interested public through clear language with as few technical terms as possible. The overview is available for download.
Ecologic Institute prepares a study for the German Environment Agency by the beginning of 2020, identifying legal norms beyond water law that can contribute more strongly to effective implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The study is funded under the Environmental Research Plan.
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. On behalf of WWF Germany, Ecologic Institute compiled an overview over core elements of federal climate change laws and their impact on a potential Federal Climate Change Act.