Further Legal and Institutional Aspects of the International Post-2012-climate Negotiations
The international negotiations on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol have been shaped by the negotiations over a future climate regime. This includes the design of the regime beyond the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period in the year 2012. Ecologic Legal provides expert advice to the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, especially on the development and assessment of German and EU positions. The project builds on the work of the earlier project "Legal and institutional aspects of the international post-2012-climate negotiations".
Climate Change is a global issue that can only be tackled successfully by a united international community. In this spirit, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed in 1992, the continuing development of which has been shaped the international climate negotiations. When the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005, an important chapter of international climate policy was begun, as industrialized states committed to legally binding greenhouse gas reduction obligations for the first time. However, the development of the international climate regime is far from being finished. In fact, the further development of an international instrument beyond the year 2012 (i.e. the period after the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period) is still an unsolved issue. Though the international community is behind schedule and the results of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in 2009 were considered disappointing, there is at least an agreement on the continuation of the international negotiations over a future climate regime. Moreover, the Copenhagen Accord – of which the COP took notice in Copenhagen – at least shows political direction. Thus, the Parties agreed on the so-called Cancún Agreements in 2010, which build a framework for further developing the international climate regime.
The project aims to provide expert advice to the German government on institutional and legal matters of the international climate negotiations through the analysis of submissions and positions of other negotiation parties and the preparation of German and EU positions. The results of Cancún determine the steps taken in the 2011 negotiations and beyond. Therefore, the project will focus on the implementation and further design of this set of decisions but also on those topics that are still controversial. These topics include the design of the institutions created by the Cancun Agreements (such as the Green Climate Fund and the Standing Committee) as well as issues concerning the legal form that the future climate regime will take.
In particular, Ecologic Institute's part in this project is to provide advice on matters of international law. Ecologic Institute aims to assist in the international and European discussions through specialist advice and to develop solutions that preserve and enhance the functionality of the international process and international climate protection. The concrete tasks include:
- Specialist legal support to the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through the preparation of legal analyses, background papers as well as position papers and negotiation offers;
- Assessment of submissions of third Parties as well as bodies and working groups of the climate regime; the development of the institute's own proposals as needed taking political objectives, the specific negotiation situation and legal implications into account;
- Preparation for and the participation in EU positionings and EU expert groups (especially the Expert Group for Legal Questions (EG LEX)); and
- Preparation for and participation in the official meetings on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol