Skip to main content

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 2 - 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: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

The ClimaSlow project opens new interdisciplinary horizons to identify the best opportunities to strengthen the global legal and regulatory framework for reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), with particular attention to developing countries as projected key sources of future SLCP emissions. It starts from the assumption that strengthening the global legal and regulatory framework for SLCPs would bring important benefits in terms of slowing down climate change and reducing local air pollution. However, legal and regulatory options to step up action on SLCPs have not been studied comprehensively. Furthermore, the climate impacts of the various options are not adequately understood.

In contrast to traditional legal analysis that would focus on one legal system or instrument, the project will study the relevant legal and regulatory frameworks comprehensively, considering the international, regional, national and transnational levels. It will seek to identify various options, both formal legal instruments and informal regulatory initiatives, to strengthen the global legal and regulatory frameworks applicable to SLCPs. In addition to providing information on best options to regulate SLCPs, this novel, comprehensive approach will help scholars to improve their understanding of the implications of ongoing changes in global legal landscape, including its presumed fragmentation and deformalisation. In addition to studying international law and transnational regulatory initiatives, the project will use China, India, Chile and Mexico as case study countries.

Addressing an important gap in current knowledge, the project will combine analysis of the merits of the various legal and regulatory options with estimates of their climate change impacts on the basis of climate modelling. By doing so, it will be able to identify the alternatives that are the most promising both from the legal point of view and in terms of climate change mitigation potential. The project will generate information that is policy-relevant and context-specific but can simultaneously provide broader lessons and open new interdisciplinary horizons.
"Climate Law Work Package

The first workstream under this WP focuses on ' Global climate law.' One of its key aims is to address the gap that there are no established research methodologies for global environmental law, thereby providing conceptual
and methodological leadership and guidance to other studies under the climate law work package. During the first half of the project, PI Kati Kulovesi has co-authored a comprehensive 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 is a sole author of a book chapter accepted for publication in the forthcoming 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,"" where she explores the current regulatory landscape applicable to SLCP emissions and builds an argument concerning the need for a legal analysis that not only considers formal sources of international and national law, but also recognises the role of various transnational regulatory initiatives and their potential role in strengthening the global regulation of SLCPs, including in China and India.


The second workstream under the Climate Law WP focuses on Strengthening regulation of SLCFs for key developing countries with Chile, China, India and Mexico as the case study countries. Senior Researcher Yulia Yamineva has published a co-authored paper with Zhe Liu in Environmental Science and Policy, is entitled ""Cleaning the air, protecting the climate: Policy, legal and institutional nexus to reduce black carbon emissions in China."" The article suggests three ways to strengthen the policy, legal and institutional nexus of air pollution and climate change to reduce black carbon emissions in China: improving scientific knowledge and the science-policy interface, increasing policy and legal connections between air quality and climate portfolios, and enhancing institutional linkages. Dr Yamineva's second paper, co-authored with Seita Romppanen, is 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. The paper argues that the legal measures currently in place fall far short of providing an adequate response to the problem of air pollution. Thus, there is a clear need to strengthen global and regional cooperation to improve air quality. Such cooperation is likely to take non‐binding and flexible forms and involve both wider participation among States and broader engagement of various stakeholders. The informal character of cooperation also makes it possible to experiment with new governance approaches that are difficult to implement within the context of traditional international law.

In addition, Dr Yamineva was 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

Under this workstream, Dr Tuula Honkonen is currently preparing a paper with a draft title ""Cookstove Emissions in India - The Prospects and Limitations of a Polycentric Governance Approach."" The paper was presented at a conference ""Pathways to Clean Cooking 2050: Leaving No-one Behind"" in Wexford, Ireland, in May 2019. She is also working on a paper looking at SLCP action by cities in India.


The third workstream under the Climate Law WP focuses on Global Regulation of Methane, which presents important climate change mitigation opportunities globally with significant co-benefits, ranging from health impacts to
economic benefits and energy security. From the legal perspective, methane is particularly interesting among the SLCFs as it is currently addressed through multiple legal instruments and regulatory initiatives, including the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Global Methane Initiative, World Bank’s Pilot Auction Facility, as well as various national initiatives. The first article by PhD student Veerajulia Pekkarinen entitled ""Going Beyond CO2: Strengthening Action on Global Methane Emissions under the UN Climate Regime,"" has been submitted for publication in the spring of 2019 and is currently undergoing peer-review.

Climate Modelling Work Package

The Climate Modelling Work Package focuses on testing the climate effects of the options identified for strengthening the global legal and regulatory frameworks for SLCPs
through climate modelling, also taking advantage of advanced aerosol modelling capabilities within existing climate models. The main objective of this study is to 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.

Work under this WP is being undertaken by PhD candidate Tuuli Miinalainen, Dr Thomas Kühn and Prof. Kari Lehtinen from the aerosol research group at the UEF Department of Applied Physics.


Integrative Work Package:

Collaboration between climate lawyers and climate scientists is an essential aspect of the project. Under the Integrative Work Package, regular meetings are held involving the PI, Prof. Kari Lehtinen (Head, UEF Department of Applied Physics and the Aerosol Physics Group) and all project researchers with the aim of developing and implementing scenarios for climate modelling. 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, Finland.


Advisory Board

The project is assisted by an Advisory Board, which held its first live meeting in Helsinki in August 2018. The following participants attended the meeting:
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 (virtually)
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 tweets about its activities and news related to its scope as @ClimaSlowERC.






"
Progress beyond the state of art thus far includes:

- Strengthening the theoretical and methodological basis of global environmental law as a research approach

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

- Launching analytical work of the current status of SLCP mitigation efforts globally and in the case study countries

- Launching work to model climate impacts of SLCP mitigation in the case study countries

- Launching work to integrate legal analysis and climate modelling

Expected results until the end of the project

- Further developing global environmental law and global climate law as research approaches, including by further developing the methodological basis for applying them

- Identifying further opportunities to strengthen the regulation of SLCPs in the case study countries and globally

- Finalising work to model climate impacts of SLCP mitigation in the case study countries

- Integrating results of legal and climate modelling work

- Undertaking further transdiciplinary work on SLCP mitigation, including through a book project addressing the science, law and policy of SLCP mitigation in developing countries