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.
Overall, the work of the research unit focusses on the interrelated field of resource, land use, energy, climate and other sustainability issues. Among the multiple publications, presentations and projects – listed in full in the sections of the headline –, this website presents only some of them as downloadable documents. For a comprehensive overview, Sustainability: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law by Felix Ekardt is recommended (open access).
Within its loose connection with the University of Rostock, the research unit participates in a worldwide unique institution: The Leibniz ScienceCampus Phosphorus Research Rostock. The Campus is constituted by the University of Rostock and a number of independent institutes and primarily does scientific research. The research unit complements to the scientific research the field of phosphorus governance research. Some of the articles published within the Phosphorus Campus can be found below. In essence, using phosphorus as starting point, the FNK develops integrated concepts to solve environmental challenges at the political level.