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Access, Uses, and Protection of Seabed Resources
Editor: Catherine Banet
The Law of the Seabed reviews the most pressing legal questions raised by the use and protection of natural resources on and underneath the world’s seabeds.
While barely accessible, the seabed plays a major role in the Earth’s ecological balance. It is both a medium and a resource, and is central to the blue economy. New uses and new knowledge about seabed ecosystems, and the risks of disputes due to competing interests, urge reflection on which regulatory approaches to pursue.
The regulation of ocean activities is essentially sector-based, and the book puts in parallel the international and national regimes for seabed mining, oil and gas, energy generation, bottom fisheries, marine genetic resources, carbon sequestration and maritime security operations, both within and beyond the national jurisdiction.
The book contains seven parts respectively addressing the definition of the seabed from a multidisciplinary perspective, the principles of jurisdiction delimitation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the regimes for use of non-living, living and marine biodiversity resources, the role of state and non-state actors, the laying and removal of installations, the principles for sustainable and equitable use (common heritage of mankind, precaution, benefit sharing), and management tools to ensure coexistence between activities as well as the protection of the marine environment.

The Aarhus Convention aims to democratize environmental decision-making. Since its adoption 20 years ago, the Aarhus Convention has led to a fundamental change in German environmental administration. This article explores the administrative capacities, organizational structures and enforcement requirements, identifies challenges for environmental authorities and outlines prospects for better implementing the Aarhus Convention. The main challenges are: extended responsibilities for authorities, greater complexity of environmental decisions, increased transparency, more external communication, stricter procedural requirements, extended access to justice and the reduction of enforcement deficits. The success of the Aarhus Convention largely depends on high-capacity administration, which adapts its way of decision-making to these challenges. In addition, substantive environmental law is the foundation upon which the three pillars of the Aarhus Convention rest. Therefore, this article argues that legal instruments and a high level of substantive environmental law are essential for environmental authorities to achieve effectively the objective of the Aarhus Convention.

In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law
In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law
In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

On 24 December 2018, the Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the governance system of the Energy Union and Climate Action entered into force. The Governance Regulation provides the European Union with a new regulatory regime for renewable energies and energy efficiency. It has the function of an ‘Umbrella Regulation’ which aims at the overarching control of energy and climate policies for the period 2021 to 2030. Its target is to implement the climate protection goals of the Paris Agreement. At the same time, it represents a compromise and compensation for the European Union’s lack of competences in the area of energy supply, especially concerning the determination of the energy mix of the Member States. Despite choosing a Regulation (which applies automatically) as the legislative tool, its steering and sanctioning mechanisms are in this respect rather ‘soft’: The Regulation gives the Member States a wide scope of decision-making. Which goals and instruments are established by the Governance Regulation, which scope of decision making remains at the national level, how Germany exercises its decision making powers and how it should be exercised are key questions addressed in this article.

In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

This article provides a comparative analysis of the regulation of ammonia emissions, primarily from livestock installations, in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. It discusses the challenges of regulating agricultural ammonia emissions in view of the rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (cjeu) on Art. 6(3) of the Habitats Directive. It is argued that the need to ensure certainty concerning the absence of significant effects on Natura 2000 sites is challenged by the uncertainties regarding both the state of individual habitat types and the potential impact of individual projects. A more integrated or programmatic approach may provide an alternative approach to individual assessments, but it is necessary to ensure that additional loads from new or enlarged livestock installations are permitted in areas with high ammonia loads only where it is certain that a programmatic approach will ensure that there are no harmful effects. This might be an almost impossible task.

In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

European Union competition law, intended to thwart subsidies paid out by national governments, plays an important role in shaping EU Member States’ support schemes for renewable energy. The Environmental and Energy State Aid Guidelines 2014–2020, which formalize the European Commission’s take on subsidies in the electricity sector, prescribe technology-neutral auctions as the standard mechanism to determine support levels. In this study, we have assessed the formal decisions of the Commission with respect to technology-neutrality between July 2014 and May 2018. It turns out that 16 out of 18 schemes are not technology-neutral and figure high degrees of technology-differentiation. We have also studied the exemption clauses invoked to justify technology-discrimination, finding that the most ambiguous clause is used most frequently, and that the application and level of scrutiny varies strongly from case to case. The State Aid Guidelines are meant to increase transparency and legal certainty. We find that with respect to technology-neutral auctions for renewable energy, the Guidelines fail to deliver on their purpose.

In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

The “wolf issue” is hot all over Europe, not least in the Nordic countries. Due to pressure from farmers’ and hunters’ organisations, license hunts are performed on a large scale basis in Norway, Sweden and Finland. As the wolf is strictly protected under the Habitats Directive, hunts must have a legal basis in a derogation decision according to Article 16(1). Many of the hunting decisions issued by the authorities under this provision have been challenged in the national courts by the engo community, but so far with little success. However, in late 2017, the Finnish organisation Tapiola brought a case all the way to the Supreme Administrative Court, which requested a preliminary ruling by the cjeu on whether such a license hunt is in line with the Directive. The Advocate General’s opinion in this case (C-674/17) came in May. This article is a comment to that opinion.

In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law