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Slowing Down Climate Change: Combining Climate Law and Climate Science to Identify the Best Options to Reduce Emissions of Short-Lived Climate Forcers in Developing Countries

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - CLIMASLOW (Slowing Down Climate Change: Combining Climate Law and Climate Science to Identify the Best Options to Reduce Emissions of Short-Lived Climate Forcers in Developing Countries)

Reporting period: 2021-07-01 to 2022-06-30

The ClimaSlow project opened new interdisciplinary horizons through collaboration between climate law and climate modelling experts with the aim of identifying opportunities to strengthen the global legal and regulatory frameworks for short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), with particular attention to developing countries. The project was motivated by the idea that this could bring scientific and policy benefits both in terms of climate change mitigation and improving local air quality, both of which are important global challenges.
Climate Law Work Package

The workstream on ' Global climate law' aimed to address a gap in research concerning methodologies for global environmental law as an approach that allows for studying legal frameworks comprehensively, considering the international, regional, national and transnational levels. PI Kati Kulovesi authored an article on theory and methods of global environmental law together with Professors Elisa Morgera and Michael Mehling entitled "Global Environmental Law: Context and Theory, Challenge and Promise" and chapter in the Research Handbook on Transnational Environmental Law (Edward Elgar) entitled "Exploring Transnational Legal Orders: Using Transnational Environmental Law to Strengthen the Global Regulation of Black Carbon for the Benefit of the Arctic Region." An article entitled "Fighting a Hard Battle with a Soft Weapon: Is International Climate Change Law Softening" by Kati Kulovesi and María Eugenia Recio is under review with another article and manuscript under preparation. Kulovesi presented on benefits of a global environmental law approach for strengthening black carbon regulation to environmental policy-makers and diplomats during the UEF-UNEP Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements in Sienna, Italy, October 2019.

The second workstream focuses on Strengthening regulation of SLCPs for developing countries with Chile, China, India and Mexico as case studies. Dr Yulia Yamineva co-authored a paper with Zhe Liu in Environmental Science and Policy, entitled "Cleaning the air, protecting the climate: Policy, legal and institutional nexus to reduce black carbon emissions in China." She co-authored, with Seita Romppanen, an article entitled "Is law failing to address air pollution? Reflections on international and EU developments" and published in the special issue of Review of Comparative, International and European Environmental Law on air pollution, which the co-authors co-edited. These papers were cited in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report. Dr Yamineva was also a Contributing author to the chapter on governance, UNEP-Climate and Clean Air Coalition report Air Pollution in the Asia-Pacific: Science-based Solutions, 2018: https://wedocs.unep.org/handle/20.500.11822/26861.

Dr Tuula Honkonen published the particle ’Tackling Cookstove Emissions in India: Towards an Enabling Policy Environment and More Effective Legal Solutions’ in the Law, Environment and Development Journal. The paper was also presented at a conference in Ireland in 2019. Her manuscript 'The Role of Cities in Air Pollution Governance in India: Could Transnational Environmental Law Fix the Regulatory Weaknesses?' is currently under review. Five further papers are under preparation related to this workstream.

The third workstream focuses on Global Regulation of Methane, which presents important climate change mitigation opportunities globally. Veera Pekkarinen authored an article entitled "Going Beyond CO2: Strengthening Action on Global Methane Emissions under the UN Climate Regime," published in RECIEL in 2020. She was subsequently invited to discuss the findings and do some further work on the topic for the European Commission during preparations for the EU methane strategy. Her second paper on informal regulatory initiatives relating to methane is about to be submitted in September 2022.

Climate Modelling Work Package

The Climate Modelling Work Package focused on testing the climate effects of the options identified for strengthening the global legal and regulatory frameworks for SLCPs through climate modelling. The main objective was understand how SLCPs contribute to climate change and how the climate would be affected through new climate change mitigation efforts reducing their climate warming effects. This work identified larger than previously understood uncertainty concerning black carbon's impact on global warming due to cloud-aerosol interactions (Kühn & al 2020, Effects of black carbon mitigation on Arctic climate, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 5527–5546, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-20-5527-2020) and studied this in more detail, finding that black carbon mitigation leads to different results in different countries (Miinalainen & al. 2021, "Comparing the radiative forcings of the anthropogenic aerosol emissions from Chile and Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126, e2020JD033364. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JD033364). Interdisciplinary work is now ongoing to analyse the legal and policy implications of these findings with one interdisciplinary manuscript close to submission and another one under preparation.

Integrative Work Package:

Collaboration between climate lawyers and climate scientists is an essential aspect of the project. The Integrative Work Package also organised an interdisciplinary seminar "Combatting Climate change by Reducing Emissions of Shot-Lived Climate Pollutants: Perspective on Science, Law and Policy" on 28 August 2018 in Helsinki, and a hybrid workshop for authors of the forthcoming book to be published by Brill in 2023 on 30-31 May 2022 in Helsinki entitled "Reducing Emissions of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Perspectives on Law, Policy and Science.’ Two papers and one book are being finalised under this work package.


Advisory Board

The project was assisted by an Advisory Board with following members having contributed to its work:
1. Nathan Borgford-Parnel, Science Officer, Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) for Short-Lived Climate Pollutants
2. Dr Abraham Ortínez, Senior Advisor on SLCPs, INECC-México
3. Dr LIU Zhe, Associate Professor, Division of Climate Change, Policy Research Centre for Environment and Economy, Ministry of Environmental Protection, P.R. China
4. Dr Kaarle Kupiainen, Senior Specialist, Finnish Ministry for the Environment
5. Dr Harri Kokkola, Senior Scientist, Finnish Meteorological Institute
6. Dr Maria Sand, Senior Researcher, Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), Norway
7. Dr Harro van Asselt, Professor on Climate Law and Policy, CCEEL, University of Eastern Finland
8. Dr Zig Klimont, Research Schoalr, Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IASSA)


The project tweeted about its activities and relevant news as @ClimaSlowERC.
Progress beyond the state of art:

- Strengthening conceptual basis of global environmental law as a research approach

- Strengthening understanding of linkages and synergies between climate change and air quality law

- Work to integrate legal analysis and climate modelling

Further results expected:

- Integrating results of legal and climate modelling work and analysing their legal and policy implications

- Finalising an interdisciplinary book project addressing the science, law and policy of SLCP mitigation in developing countries

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