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Our Groundbreaking Constitutional Court Verdict: Paris Agreement, Unambitious Climate Protection, Precautionary Principle, and Human Rights

Missing German and EU climate targets is not embarrassing - it is contrary to international and human rights. Even the unambitious targets themselves are illegal; all the more so their misconduct. More on this in our new legal opinion on the Paris Agreement here. In April 2021, we won a groundbreaking lawsuit at the German Constitutional Court. See on this here and here.

Economic Instruments for Phosphorus Governance - Climate and Biodiv Targets

The existing legal framework on P is strongly characterized by detailed command-and-control provisions and thus suffers from governance problems such as enforcement deficits, rebound and shifting effects. Our new paper focuses on how these challenges could be addressed by economic instruments. The article highlights not only the impact of the instruments on P management, but also on adjacent environmental areas. We pay particular attention to the governance effects on reaching international binding climate and biodiv goals: here.

Land Use, Livestock, Quantity Governance, and Economic Instruments

The production of animal food products is (besides fossil fuels) one of the most important noxae with regard to many of the environmental problems, such as climate change, biodiversity loss or globally disrupted nutrient cycles. This paper provides a qualitative governance analysis of which regulatory options there are to align livestock farming with the legally binding environmental objectives, in particular the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity: here.

Peatland Governance: New Perspectives on Regulatory Law and Economic Instruments

Paris targets imply that not only emissions from degraded peatlands have to be avoided, but conservation and rewetting of peatlands are also necessary to figure as sinks to compensate for unavoidable residual emissions. In the absence of an easily comprehensible control variable (such as fossil fuels), economic instruments reach their limits. This is remarkable in so far as economic instruments can otherwise handle governance problems and react to various behavioral motivational factors very well. Still, peatlands can be subject to certain regulations and prohibitions under command-and-control law even without precise knowledge of the emissions from peatland use: here.

Sustainability: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law - First Volume in our new Springer Nature Book Series on Environmental Humanities

From spring 2019 Felix Ekardt is the editor of Springer Nature's new book series "Environmental Humanities: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law". It is open to the entire social sciences, i.e. economics, philosophy, sociology, political science, ethnology, etc. Volume 1 "Sustainability: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law" by Felix Ekardt has been published now and provides an overview of the work of the FNK with completely new perspectives in sustainability research - and can be read with Springer Link: here.

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Theory of Sustainability

Sustainability describes a form of economy and society that is lasting and can be lived on a global scale. The society-changing potential of the claim: ‘More justice between generations, more global justice – at the same time’ faces the peril of getting out sight. Sustainability is just not the trivial general claim to take social, economic and environmental policy serious independent of any relationship in time and space and to strike a sound balance between these aspects. And sustainability in the sense of the Rio Conference 1992 does not mean a ‘Three Column Conception’ at least not in a separating or additive sense. From the stance of policy-making and social sciences (e. g. law, political sciences, social sciences, economics, theology, psychology, etc.) diverse working fields and problems are affected, namely

  1. a clear definition of the concept ‘sustainability’ (level of definition);
  2. the – partly only scientific – descriptive analysis of how sustainable societies currently are if measured against this yardstick and which developments take place;
  3. the likewise descriptive question which external hindrances and motivations have so far obstructed the enforcement of sustainability - and which factors promote the transformation towards sustainability(level of causes);
  4. the normative question why sustainability be attractive and what, based on that assessment, its exact content is (level of necessity);
  5. how much sustainability is required from a legal or moral point of view if it is balanced against competing interests, e. g. short-term economic growth, including the question which institutions have to resolve this issue and which margin of discretion they should enjoy in doing so (level of balancing);
  6. which means can be employed to effectively attain the chosen goals, including possible obstructions, actors, strategies, etc. (level of enforcement).

In 2016, the third edition of “Theory on sustainability” (German: „Theorie der Nachhaltigkeit: Rechtliche, ethische und politische Zugänge - am Beispiel von Klimawandel, Ressourcenknappheit und Welthandel“) by Felix Ekardt was published. The habilitation monography offers a broad approach on the basics of justice and sustainability, theory of human rights, on origins of lacking sustainability and effective climate and resource policy. From autumn 2018 Felix Ekardt will be the editor of Springer Nature's new book series "Environmental Humanities: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law". It is open to the entire social sciences, i.e. economics, philosophy, sociology, political science, ethnology, etc. Volume 1 "Sustainability: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law" by Felix Ekardt will be published soon and provides an overview of the work of the FNK with completely new perspectives in sustainability research: here.

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