Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy
Prof. Dr. Dr. Felix Ekardt, LL.M., M.A.
Missing German and EU climate targets is not embarrassing - it is contrary to international and human rights. Even the unambitious targets themselves are illegal; all the more so their misconduct. More on this in our new legal opinion on the Paris Agreement here. In April 2021, we won a groundbreaking lawsuit at the German Constitutional Court. See on this here and here.
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.
Paris targets imply that not only emissions from degraded peatlands have to be avoided, but conservation and rewetting of peatlands are also necessary to figure as sinks to compensate for unavoidable residual emissions. In the absence of an easily comprehensible control variable (such as fossil fuels), economic instruments reach their limits. This is remarkable in so far as economic instruments can otherwise handle governance problems and react to various behavioral motivational factors very well. Still, peatlands can be subject to certain regulations and prohibitions under command-and-control law even without precise knowledge of the emissions from peatland use: here.
From spring 2019 Felix Ekardt is the editor of Springer Nature's new book series "Environmental Humanities: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law". It is open to the entire social sciences, i.e. economics, philosophy, sociology, political science, ethnology, etc. Volume 1 "Sustainability: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law" by Felix Ekardt has been published now and provides an overview of the work of the FNK with completely new perspectives in sustainability research - and can be read with Springer Link: 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: