Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy
Prof. Dr. Dr. Felix Ekardt, LL.M., M.A.
The CBD as well as (national and transnational) human rights contain an obligation to halt biodiversity loss since 1993 at the latest, which has been continuously violated ever since. Governments can also be sued on this basis. We show this in a new international paper: here.
Even with zero fossil fuels and greatly reduced animal husbandry, residual emissions remain that must be compensated - even if sufficiency can make this amount of emissions smaller than the IPCC assumes. This requires above all the regulation of forests and peatlands (which are also central to biodiversity protection). Here, economic instruments and regulatory law relate to each other differently than they often do. Three international articles explore this - on forests, on peatlands and on the very problematic large-scale BECCSand other kinds of geoengineering.
German and EU climate policy is contrary to international law and constitutional human rights. Even the unambitious targets themselves are illegal. More on this in our new legal analysis, including critical perspectives on IPCC AR6 here. In April 2021, we won a groundbreaking lawsuit at the German Constitutional Court. See on this in Nature Climate Change, in The Environment and Sustainability.
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.
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.
When does the order of our living together deserve that we call it ‘just’? Is it at all possible to speak of ‘right’ norms/ goals/ evaluations? Or are they (and hence justice) merely a subjective matter of taste; a social construction; a cultural-relative given; an unjustified metaphysical-religious assertion; or a metaphor for maximizing individual utility? And what constitutes just balances between competing interests? Finally, which changes are required from our grown understanding of liberty to conform to sustainability? These and similar fundamental questions constitute an essential kernel of moral philosophy and legal theory.
Basis rights and human rights are a central issue of a universal theory of justice as well as written national, European and international law. It is therefore a matter of a correct understanding of freedom, the right weighing theory and the right interpretation of those legal norms. The Research Unit generally combines in its work on normative issues analysis of both justice philosophy and legal dimensions.
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. In 2019, a shorter version in English was published in the new book series of the Research Unit with Springer Nature: Sustainability: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law.
Further downloadable texts in English: