PhD Candidate, Alessandra Accogli, is organising, with the support of the UCD Sutherland School of Law, a Research Workshop entitled ‘Legal protection of carbon sinks in the fight against climate change: interactions between ecosystem protection and human rights’. We therefore invite paper submissions for presentation at the research workshop which will be held on 4-5 December 2023 at UCD Sutherland School of Law (Dublin, Ireland).
The call intends to offer academics, including early-career researchers, as well as practitioners a forum to analyse and discuss how the legal response to climate change could be enhanced through the protection and restoration of those ecosystems that act as carbon sinks. A carbon sink is a natural reservoir that absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases, thus exercising a cooling effect on the climate. However, albeit acknowledged by climate change policies and legal instruments, the carbon sink capacity of ecosystems has been significantly undermined leading to the degradation of ecosystems and the release of the stored carbon, thus exacerbating climate change. Moreover, the scientific understanding of the importance of carbon sinks for tackling climate change has rarely translated into legal research that can impact action at the policy level. What is also lacking in the legal literature is the analysis of issues relating to climate change, ecosystem degradation and human rights taken together. Human rights come into play as they could be impacted both by climate change and ecosystem degradation as well as by measures taken to combat them. A holistic perspective focused on protecting both nature and human interests would tie the fight against climate change and ecosystem degradation to other struggles for justice. This theoretical framework often referred to as socio-ecological perspective or ecological law essentially advocates for laws that place human beings as interconnected parts with non-humans in complex ecosystems and are based on the protection of these ecosystems and their components in an integrated fashion. Such an approach disrupts the human and nature divide and considers the healthy interaction of all components of ecosystems, including human beings.
In light of the foregoing, the workshop aims at bringing carbon sinks and their potential for climate mitigation to the legal forum and, in doing so, intends to promote legal approaches inspired by socio-ecological perspectives that allow for realising synergies in addressing climate change, ecosystem degradation and human rights violations.
More concretely, contributors might wish to address the following topics and questions (the list is not exhaustive):
- Critical analysis of the current legal response to climate change
- How do carbon sinks feature within the current climate change legal regime at the international/EU/domestic level (e.g., Paris Agreement, EU LULUCF Reg etc)?
- How are carbon sinks protected under the current legal regime – beyond climate change law (e.g., environmental law, nature conservation law, human rights law)? (Submissions concerning the designation of protected areas under the EU Habitats Directive are particularly welcome). Submissions could look at both the substantive and procedural dimensions (e.g., Aarhus Convention etc).
- Does the current legal regime (e.g., climate change law, environmental law, human rights law) promote synergies with ecosystem protection and/or human rights protection? If so, to what extent?
- How are human rights impacted by climate change and/or ecosystem degradation? How are human rights affected by measures aimed at addressing climate change and/or ecosystem degradation?
- Discussion on the possible legal approaches to enhance the response to climate change
- How should the current legal response to climate change be enhanced through the protection and restoration of carbon sinks?
- How could human rights law help design effective responses to climate change (or ecosystem degradation)?
- What are the tensions/conflicts as well as the synergies between the environmental protection of carbon sinks and the protection of human rights of people who interact with the ecosystem(s)? How/can the former be solved?
- How can ecological law help make the current legal response to climate change more holistic?
Interested contributors are asked to submit a title and an abstract of around 400 words to the organisers at [email protected] by 9 June 2023. Selected contributors will then be asked to submit extended abstracts (max 1,000 words) or, if they wish for their submission to be considered for publication, their full papers (between 8,000-10,000 words) written in English by 15 October 2023. The workshop will be an in-person event at UCD Sutherland School of Law (Dublin, Ireland), with a subsidiary option for remote participation. Some funds are available to cover travel and accommodation, and selected contributors will be asked if they wish to avail themselves of these funds. Finally, selected contributions presented at the workshop may be considered for publication.
Official notification: Click here