Legal instruments for a sustainable bioenergy production
To reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and to guarantee the security of energy supply both the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany rely on renewable energies. In this regard, biomass plays an important role, as it can be used stationary in power generation and for warmth provision, but also as fuel in transportation. But the increasing cultivation of energy crops leads to competition with food production and nature conservation, in Germany as well as worldwide. In addition, emerging conflicts like those about land tenure and water effect the social situation of people in developing countries. In this regard, the Department of Environmental and Planning Law analyses the capability of legislation to guarantee that an increase in biomass production does not lead to interferences with biodiversity, soil and water, and also with social rights. It analyses the existing legal framework that ranges from international agreements and EU legislation to national legislations in Germany and other states. Research within the Department also includes the assessment of the effectiveness of developed concepts and suggestions for legal amendments (e.g. in national nature conservation law). At international level, research topic, among others, is how legislation of Germany and the EU could ensure a sustainable production of biomass in third countries and how sustainability requirements comply with WTO law.