International Law on Climate Change and Sustainability

2019-2020

Course Objective

The course analyzes climate change as a transnational legal phenomenon.
Students will learn to work across different legal fields (ranging from
international and human rights law to private and economic law) and
different jurisdictions (including international, European, national and
local regulation), and to handle legal questions in the context of
complex economic, political, social and ethical debates. Students will
be encouraged to participate in the course of the lectures, with the
goal of developing the sort of critical and analytical skills conducive
to the practice of transnational law, and to understanding transnational
global developments.

Course Content

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues the world faces in the
21st century. It is also a particularly complex and interesting problem
from a legal perspective: this is because climate change affects
multiple jurisdictions (from the international to the local level),
numerous areas of law (from international law to private and criminal
law) and
multiple actors (ranging from governments and international
organizations to multinational businesses, NGOs and private citizens).
Moreover, complex scientific, economic, political, social and ethical
questions feed into the legal processes.

Analyzing the interaction of different legal fields:
Greenhouse gases originate from a broad range of activities, including
energy production, industry and transport to agriculture. These are
regulated in, or otherwhise affected by, numerous fields of law, such as
international law, European and national economic law, private law,
environmental law, international trade and investment law and human
rights law. Tackling climate change therefore requires understanding how
these various legal fields interact.

Analyzing how different jurisdictions interact:
Climate change is a transnational phenomenon, having local causes, but
creating global effects: consequently, the problem must be addressed at
the same time at a global scale, by regional organizations (such as the
EU), at the national and at the regional level (e.g. cities). The course
will look at how these different jurisdictions interact.

Understanding the role of different legal actors:
Climate change is not only a concern for national governments and
international organizations. The European Union, as a regional
organization, has long been an important actor in this field; moreover,
non-state actors play an important role as well: multinational
businesses, NGOs and private citizens aim to influence the regulatory
process, most notably by bringing lawsuits. The course will analyze the
activities of these different actors.

Understanding the context of climate change law:
Climate change has complex scientific, economic, political, social and
ethical dimensions: for example, given that the emission of greenhouse
gases is related to many different business sectors, a transition
towards a low-carbon society will likely transform the existing economy
in significant ways. This will inevitably create „losers“ along the way
(e.g. coal and oil companies), who may aim to slow down the transition,
thereby posing difficult economic and political questions. Or, to give
another example, as greenhouse gas emissions are related to consumption,
they are mainly attributable to the wealthy parts of the global
population; however, climate change disproportionately affects poor
populations in developing countries, and therefore raises complex
ethical issues. In this course, we will study how scientific, economic,
political, social and ethical questions feed into the legal process.

The course covers:
Part 1: the science, economics and politics of climate change;
Part 2: Climate change as a global issue; the international climate
change regime (e.g. Paris Agreement), international law, human rights
law and international trade and investment law;
Part 3: European and national legislation (e.g. Emissions Trading
System; EU product regulation; company law)
Part 4: Climate change lawyering (e.g. lawsuits against governments and
businesses in the US and in Europe)

Teaching Methods

Lectures, in-classroom research tasks, guest lectures, home assignments,
group research project

Method of Assessment

Small written and oral assignments throughout the course and a final
written assignment.

General Information

Course Code R_ILCCS
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator C. Kaupa
Examiner C. Kaupa
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture, Study Group
Target audiences

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