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Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation

Instruments for Greenhouse Gas Reduction beyond the Emissions Trading Sector:
A vertical Analysis of Germany's Climate Change Legislation with Comparative Law References

Lena Kohlrausch - Universität Leipzig, Prof. K. Faßbender

Without the restrictions related to the Corona pandemic Germany had failed its 2020 climate target. Along with CO2-pricing and increased benefits from renewable energies they accounted about one third of the target achievement, according to the UBA. Not only the pandemically adjusted figures published call for further tightening of efforts in this context, but also the recent decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on the constitutional complaints against the German Federal Climate Change Act makes improvements necessary. Moreover, the intention to do so is expressed "top down" through the recently adopted "European Climate Law" with its strengthened target definitions and "bottom up" through remarkable initiatives, not at least "Fridays for Future".

In this sense, the research project outlines the development of climate targets for greenhouse gas reduction and the instruments established for this purpose. They are drawn from respective international legal agreements and European law to the national level in Germany. A consideration of the constitutional provisions for climate protection is followed by an analysis of the existing instruments for greenhouse gas reduction at federal, state and municipal level. At the federal level the focus is on the German Federal Climate Change Act (Bundes-Klimaschutzgesetz of 12 December 2019). Achieving climate targets necessarily means to establish a system of successful collaboration within the federal organisation. The interaction of different players will be analysed and described – de lege lata – with regard to its functional mechanisms. The established instruments at different vertical levels will be examined for their suitability to create the interaction needed and evaluated with regard to their effectiveness in terms of climate protection. Proposals for amendments or additions shall be elaborated and discussed in the context of the overall legal situation regarding advantageous and disadvantageous effects. Corresponding implementation effort required shall be taken into consideration. Where it makes sense, comparative legal strategies and instruments beyond German borders could also contribute to this discussion.

The aim is to develop optimisation approaches contributing – de lege ferenda – to the achievement of climate targets by Germany in general.

Legal Requirements for Models of National Greenhouse Gases Pricing in the USA and Germany (Working Title)

Lucas Hennicke - Universität Greifswald, Prof. S. Schlacke

Man-made climate change is a central problem of the present, which requires complete emission reduction in the near future. For a long time now, the legal literature has recognized that economic instruments can contribute significantly to climate protection, as the pricing of greenhouse gases provides a basis on which further climate mitigation measures can be taken. However, for these instruments to be successful, they must meet all legal requirements in order to be reliable and accepted by those affected. The recent development of economic instruments in environmental law showed a tendency to not apply them in their initial economic design but rather to combine the advantages of different approaches in hybrid systems. My project therefore aims to examine not only the basic models of a carbon tax and emissions trading scheme but also their different possible combinations, in order to recommend a possible choice of instruments and their legal feasibility. In doing so, the project takes into account the existing approaches in the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany, also influenced by the law of the European Union, in order to develop different design possibilities. The comparative law approach also allows to establish whether a universally applicable design recommendation can be made for the examined countries, or whether the choice of instrument must be different due to the varying legal requirements by the respective legal systems and jurisdictions.

Forest Law on the Climate Change Test Bench

Caterina Freytag - Universität Bremen, Prof. C. Franzius

The contribution of forests to climate mitigation as well as to climate adaptation is significant and even projected to decrease under aggravated conditions of climate change. Given the fact that Germany reports the highest growing stock density in Europe, the present PhD project takes German (forestry) law (GFL) as its starting point for a closer analysis of adequate safeguarding mechanisms. The extent is examined to which the German legal and regulatory framework can serve as an example of best practice or rather needs to be revised in terms of its instrumentation and enforcement in order to make it ’climate change proof‘. According to GFL, forest ecosystem services are to be safeguarded in a sustainable fashion. In view of the current dire situation of forests, the present PhD project investigates how the respective legislative mandate that dates back to 1975 can be complied with adequately. The study is based on the assumption that a ’risk management turn‘ is urgently needed in German (forestry) law. The main research interest is less into questions of mitigation, such as the legal framing of a climate-neutral forest development, but rather on the long-time neglected adaptation side of the sectoral climate change discourse: the implementation and enforcement of a climate-resilient forest development. Therefore, as a first step, the need for action is determined. The guiding and allegedly ’proven‘ principles of a multifunctional, integrative and sustainable forest management (SFM) are critically reviewed by paying special attention to inherent conflicts and climate change-related challenges. Building on this, in a second step, the study identifies the need for legal modification. The current striking legislative restraint is partly due to the assumption that SFM is in forest owners’ interest and lies in the free and independent sphere of their own responsibility. This may certainly be true for the production of of raw material, but it may not be equally true for the protection of biodiversity as a basic prerequisite for the self-regulating capacity of forest ecosystems. However, the predominant assumption seems to have led to a ’normative undersupply’, which must be questioned and potentially remedied. How a ’risk management turn‘ in GFL could be of help and should be established is to be examined in a third and final step.