Recent Publications and Speeches
Newsletter

News

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.

New Springer Nature Book Series: Environmental Humanities

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.

Sustainable Land Use, Soil Protection and Phosphorus Management from a Cross-National Perspective

The scarcity of phosphorus (P) is a global concern that is not restricted to western industrialized nations. Based on several third-party funded projects, the industrialized nation of Germany, the emerging economy of Costa Rica, and the developing country of Nicaragua are examined in our new article in SUSTAINABILITY with regard to their legislation in the field of environmental protection and agriculture, in particular with regard to soil protection and fertilizer law. It becomes clear that soil protection in all three countries has not yet been adequately standardised in law and at the same time the efficient use of organic or recycled P fertilizers instead of (finite) mineral P fertilizers is inadequately regulated. here.

Felix Ekardt on "Growth - A Hard Habit to Break

A contribution in the Global Compact International Yearbook deals with fundamental issues of the sustainability debate: the limits to green growth and technological innovations, the preconditions of societal transformation towards sustainability, the complexity of human motivation, the underrated ambitiousness of the long-term goal in the Paris Climate Agreement. See, among other papers, here.

Universalism, Discourse Ethics, and Objectivity of Norms

The Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy has done a lot of research on the normative grounds of sustainability - respectively on the theoretical basis of both ethics and law. The most informative is the big German volume "Theorie der Nachhaltigkeit", but there is also a number of English papers. See, among other papers, here.

Read all news

Projects and Members of the Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy

Fundamental Research of the Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy consists mainly of national and international publications in journals and books (and in extensive presentations, policy consulting and media activities). Additionally, it works on a large number of research projects for public and non-profit clients. The following list includes current projects. Then, all past and present projects of people associated with the Research Unit in are listed. Each first mentioned project indicates the main research area and for PhD students the working title of their thesis. Projects of former associates of the Research Unit are separately listed at the end. Click on a member's name to see their vita, publications, and given talks. The Final Reports of the projects are usually in German, but many of our articles in journals on these subjects are published in English.

Some Current Projects

Scientific Campus Phosphorus Research Rostock (sustainable land use/several projects)
Together with colleagues at University of Rostock, Felix Ekardt founded the Scientific Campus Phosphorus Research. Along with assistants of the Research Unit, he works on questions of governance and justice, focusing particularly on holistic solutions for different land-use related environmental problems. Fertilization, climate change, biodiversity loss, water pollution are just a few of them. Economic policy instruments merit special attention in exploring solutions. Two long-term projects are funded by BMBF respectively by Leibniz Association. Further applications are in preparation. Multiple papers of the project have been published in 2017/2018. Here is the homepage of the Campus.
Paris climate agreement: more ambitious than first thought
Financed by SFV, we produced a study showing that the legally binding nature of art. 2 Paris Agreement requires a complete and global (!) decarbonisation within 10 to 20 years. This includes all sectors, not only power which has been the main focus so far. Alleged climate pioneers such as Germany and the EU by now follow targets flagrantly weaker than this general objective. The study discussed legal issues of the Paris Agreement and compares different scientific analyses of the consequences following a “well below 2 degree” or even a 1.5 degree target for global warming might have. The study will be available also in English soon.
Marine environmental protection and climate change
Funded by the Federal Ministry of Research, we contribute legal and governance input to the 3rd phase of the eight-year large-scale project BIOACID. The project targets oceans and ocean acidification which have been long neglected environmental issues. Different publications are going nline since in early 2018. Here is the new homepage.
City of the day after tomorrow
Together with a consortium of mostly urbanists, we are looking at long-term trends of urban development beyond those that are currently observed. Also, we analyse how certain social processes impact urban planning. A very explorative project will end with a final report in 2018.
Land use and climate change/ nitrogen fertilization etc.
On a scholarship of Heinrich Böll Foundation, the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, a total of three members of the Research Unit are working especially on issues of sustainable land use and its governance and legal issues.
Social energy transition
One of the crucial questions of the (national and international) energy and climate transition (“Energiewende”) regards distributional consequences of (a) climate change and (b) climate policy. We have produced various publications and conducted projects on the subject. Together with Adelphi, FÖS and Halle University, issued by UBA (Germany’s main environmental protection agency associated with the Ministry of Environment), we have been exploring small-scale politically feasible opportunities in German law to minimize distributional consequences on the back of socially deprived.
Economic instruments and economic evaluation of nature protection
Issued by the German Bundestag (office for technology assessment), we have examined opportunities and restrictions of economic assessment (which we view skeptically) and economic instruments (which we feel have potential). The final report has been published in German with Metropolis.
Sustainable corporate law
Issued by German Bundestag (Green Party), we are searching for ways to make corporate law more sustainable, specifically for companies limited by shares. Chances and restrictions of sustainability clauses, salary regulation, transparency requirements etc. are being examined.
Human rights and international environmental law
Until 2016, we have worked on an elaborate study financed by the German Institute for Human Rights, which has added a critical analysis of the current debate in International Environmental Law. Particular focus lay on the debate around climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals. Thus, it continues our long-term work on basic and human rights and their ecological aspects.
Development of national climate protection law/ climate policy
We developed governance and policy concepts for a more effective national climate protection law. With the recent publication of the final report with Metropolis, the three-year project issued by UBA (Germany’s main environmental protection agency associated with the Federal Ministry of Environment) came to a close.
Energy sufficiency
Together with partners like Wuppertal Institute and IFEU, we worked on a three-year project by the Ministry of Research on energy sufficiency.
Legal opinions on energy transition
Five legal opinions for SFV have been submitted by us. They show (once again) how energy transition has so far been not sufficiently executed and that there are many structural errors, e.g. in the review of the German Renewable Energy law in 2014. And in a lacking phase-out of lignite (brown coal).
Regional climate protection: Chances and restrictions
This project by the Saxony Landtag (Green Party) on basic issues and practical examples was finished in 2014.

All Members/Projects

Felix Ekardt
  • Lawsuit on unambitious climate policy at the German Constitutional Court (funded by Solarenergie-Förderverein Deutschland e.V., with Dr. Franziska Heß)
  • Economic instruments on land use, phosphorus, biodiversity, and climate change (funded by Science Campus on Phosphorus Research of Rostock University/ federal Ministry for Education and Research)
  • Bioacid: Ocean Acidification and Climate Protection (project with GEOMAR, Rostock University et al., funded by federal Ministry for Education and Research)
  • Paris Agreement and Fundamental Rights (funded by Solarenergie-Förderverein Deutschland e.V.)
  • Energy Transition and Social Distributive Justice (project with Adelphi et al., funded by Federal Environmental Ministry)
  • Globalization and Sustainability (funded by Federal Ministry for Development Policy)
  • Biodiversity Finance (funded by GIZ)
  • Optimization of German Climate Law (funded by Federal Environmental Ministry)
  • Energy sufficiency (project with IFEU Heidelberg and Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, funded by Federal Ministry for Education and Research)
  • Biodiversity, Climate Change, Evaluation, and Governance Instruments (funded by the German Parliament)
  • Climate Protection on Local Level (funded by the Saxonian Parliament)
  • Sustainability and Company Law (funded by the German Parliament)
  • Bio-Economy as Constitutional principle? (funded by ioökonomierat Bayern)
  • Sufficiency Politics on Regional Level (funded by BUND e.V.)
  • Human Rights and International Environmental Law (funded by the German Institute for Human Rights)
  • International Resource Politics (funded by Heinrich Böll Foundation)
  • Participation of civil society and NGOs in environmental and social matters (funded by Hans Böckler Foundation)
  • Biotech Law and Biodiversity Law (funded by the Bundesamt für Naturschutz and the NABU)
  • European Law, Conservation Law, and Judicial Review (funded by BUND e. V.)
  • International Resource Politics (project with Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, funded by Heinrich-Böll-Foundation)
  • Social distributive justice in climate policy (funded by Hans Böckler Foundation)
  • Climate Protection and Planning Law (funded by the Land Nordrhein-Westfalen)
  • Climate Protection, Planning Law, and Coal Power Plants (funded by the Land Nordrhein-Westfalen)
  • Land-use and Climate Law (funded by AcaTech/ Bioökonomierat/ Federal Ministry for Education and Research)
  • Climate Change and Social Distributive Justice (funded by Misereor and Konrad Adenauer Foundation)
  • Climate Change, Human Rights, and Balancing (funded by Solarenergie-Förderverein Deutschland e.V.)
  • World trade law and social state (funded by Hans Böckler Foundation)
  • Constitutional Law, EU Law, and EEG 2014 (funded by Solarenergie-Förderverein Deutschland e.V.)
  • Property rights, lignite, and public interest (funded by Solarenergie-Förderverein Deutschland e.V.)
  • Property rights and power supply lines (funded by Solarenergie-Förderverein Deutschland e.V.)
  • Solar Energy and the Fundamental Right to Property (funded by Solarenergie-Förderverein Deutschland e.V.)
  • Environmental Charges on Emissions (funded by Greenpeace Switzerland)
  • The City of the Future (funded by BBSR)
Beatrice Garske, M.Sc., LL.M.
  • Economic instruments on land use, phosphorus, biodiversity, and climate change (funded by Science Campus on Phosphorus Research of Rostock University, funded by federal Ministry for Education and Research)
  • Master thesis on Joint Implementation (Cooperation with Fraunhofer Institut Leipzig)
  • Degrowth Homepage (funded by BUND e.V.)
Dipl. Geogr. Dipl. Finw. Jessica Stubenrauch
  • Land use and phosphorus in different countries (funded by Science Campus on Phosphorus Research of Rostock University/ Leibniz-Gemeinschaft)
  • Diploma thesis on the accumulation of harmful substances in soils; forthcoming PhD student (cooperation with the institute for geography of Leipzig University and the Federal Environmental Agency)
Jutta Wieding, M.A.
  • Economic instruments on land use, phosphorus, biodiversity, and climate change (funded by Science Campus on Phosphorus Research of Rostock University, funded by federal Ministry for Education and Research)
  • Master Thesis on Economic Instruments in International Climate Policy (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes)
Rechtsanwältin Dr. Bettina Hennig
  • Legal problems, ecological and social advantages and disadvantages of bio-energy (funded by the University of Bremen and Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt)
  • Legal problems of renewable energies: The ‘perspective 2050’/core problems of the renewable energy act (EEG) 2009 (funded by the German Federal Ministry for Environment)
  • Biotech Law, Conservation, and NGO Rights (funded by Bundesamt für Naturschutz and the NABU e. V.)
  • Biotech law and Länder authorities (funded by Bundesamt für Naturschutz/NABU e.V.)
  • Land Use and Climate Law (funded by AcaTech/ Bioeconomy Council/ German Federal Ministry for Education and Research)
  • Biotech Law and Biodiversity Law (funded by Bundesamt für Naturschutz and the NABU e.V.)
  • Social distributive justice in climate policy (funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation)
  • Legal Issues of Aircraft Noise (funded by the Research Unit)
  • Climate Protection on Local Authority Level (funded by the Saxonian Parliament)
Anika Zorn, B.Sc.
  • Phosphorus Governance (funded by Science Campus on Phosphorus Research of Rostock University, funded by federal Ministry for Education and Research)
  • Bioacid: Ocean Acidification and Climate Protection (Practical Training; furthermore Study Scholarship Rosa Luxemburg Foundation)
Matthias Weyland, Dipl.-Politologe
Energy Sufficiency (Cooperation with Federal Environmental Agency)
Manuela Jäger, MA
Sustainability Discourse in Industrialising Countries - the Example of India (Assistant of the Director)
Dipl.-Kauffrau Catrin Spring
Energy Taxation in the EU (lecturer)

Projects of Former Members

Dr. Klaus Beckmann
Interim measures and suspensive effect (retired official)
Dr. Hartwig von Bredow
Legal problems of energy efficiency (lawyer)
Anika Bruns
Legal problems of energy-heat-linkage (student assistant job funded by the German Federal Ministry for Environment)
Dr. Daniel Buscher
Reform of German federalism and the future of ‘town states’ (Rechtsreferendar)
Dr. Caroline Douhaire
Legal Issues of Fertilization (funded by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt)
Dr. Anne-Katrin Exner
Mareike Heering
Dr. Nina Hehn
Legal problems concerning the transition to a climate neutral town (lawyer)
Christian Heitmann
  • A socially just tax policy and its relationship to climate policy (funded by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and through a research assistant job at the University of Rostock and a student assistant job)
  • Legal problems of renewable energy: The ‘perspective 2050’/renewable energy heat act (EEWärmeG) as well as tax and subsidies aspects (German Federal Ministry for Environment)
  • Participation of civil society and NGOs in environmental and social matters (funded by Hans Böckler Stiftung)
Andreas Heym
Internal administrative law and nature protection law (assistant at the Bundesamt für Naturschutz)
Antonia von Hövel
  • Usage of land in global and European climate protection law
  • Foundations of a global Marshall-plan/planetary contract (contract financed by the BUND e.V.)
Dr. Nadine Holzapfel
Waste law, soil protection law, and water law (lawyer)
Anna Hyla
  • Legal problems of renewable energies: the ‘perspective 2050’/aspects of WTO law and human rights (student assistant job financed by the German Federal Ministry of Environment)
  • Balancing in Climate Protection and Health Care System (student assistant job at the University of Bremen; contract financed by the BUND e.V.)
Judith Kleibs
Degrowth (Cooperation with Friends of the Earth Germany)
Daniel Kornack
Dr. Henrike-Uljane Kruschinski
Legal problems of bio-gas plants (employee at EWE AG)
Malgorzata Krzysztofik, LL.M., Rechtsanwältin/Radca prawny
Renewable Energies in Germany and Poland (Cooperation with the Law Firm von Bredow Valentin)
Swantje Meyer-Mews
Andrea Schmeichel
Legal problems of renewable energy: the ‘perspective 2050’/renewable energy act (EEG) and the EC directive (research assistant job funded by the German Federal Ministry for Environment)
Heiko Sabatzki
Public private partnership, competition law, public procurement law (University of Bremen, faculty of law)
Dr. Patrick Kim Schmidtke
Municipal climate protection (funded by the lawyers office Schmitz; now civil servant with a federal agency)
Dr. Jan Seidel
Threshold values in soil protection law (lawyer)
Larissa Steffenhagen
  • Legal problems of renewable energies: the ‘ perspective 2050’/aspects of WTO law and human rights (student assistant job financed by the German Federal Ministry of Environment)
  • Sanctions and legal protection in global climate protection law (student assistant job at the University of Bremen)
  • Water law and coal power plants (funded by BUND e. V.)
  • EU Emissions Trading System 2013 (student assistant job at the University of Rostock; Rechtsreferendarin)
  • Ethical and Strategical Issues of a „Turnaround“ in Environmental Protection (funded by BUND e. V.)
Dr. Davor Šušnjar
Hilke van Riesten
Legal problems of carbon dioxide sequestration (student assistant job funded by the German Federal Ministry of Environment; Research Assistant at the German Parliament)
Dr. Raphael Weyland
  • Water law, climate protection, and protection of nature in the planned federal environmental code (UGB) (funded by Bundesamt für Naturschutz; now lawyer)
  • Reform of German federalism and environmental law (funded by BUND e.V. and University of Bremen)
  • Atomic Waste Exports as a Legal Problem (funded by BUND NRW e.V.)
Martin Wilke
Biotech law, protection of nature, and association rights (funded by Bundesamt für Naturschutz and NABU)
Ulrike Will
  • Bottom-Up versus Top-Down in Environmental Policy (funded by BUND e.V.)
  • Global climate protection and the limits to growth
Ines Zager
  • Climate protection and emission trade (funded by Frankfurter Rundschau; now lawyer)
  • Emission trade and the German allocation act (funded by BUND e.V.)
  • Freedom of speech and Danish cartoon fight (student assistant job)

Moreover, there exist concluded PhD projects on public procurement law, building law, terrorism and security, and on principles of international public law (second opinions) as well as finished BUND-projects on global justice (Nina Neumann), rationing in health care systems and the adaption to climate change (Verena Lessmann), and a university financed project on the every day culture of law students with a migration background in liberal states (Cornelia Richter).