Environmental Law and Institutions as Drivers of Sustainable Environmental and Climate Policy

Investigating Conditions and Prerequisites: The IASS Project ELIAS

How can scientific findings about environmental and climate protection be translated into sustainable policies? With its ELIAS project, the IASS investigated the prerequisites for this from 2013 to 2016. ELIAS stands for “Environmental Law and Institutions for Air, Climate, and Sustainability”.

Its work revolved around three main questions:

  • How can scientific findings about the Earth system and the climate be successfully transformed into sustainable policies?
  • What kind of legal framework is necessary for this to happen? What institutional structures and incentives are required?
  • And what role do initiatives and organisations play in this process, from local to global level?

The project also took regional specifics and conditions into account. It examined the specific issues that arise in particularly sensitive regions, for example, in the Himalayas.

ELIAS focused its efforts on the international climate protection coalition CCAC, on legal issues in connection with the 2015 ‘Paris Agreement’, on air quality and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and on the sustainable transformation of the Kathmandu Valley.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC)

  • Analysing the CCAC with regard to its structure, development and position within the United Nations system.
  • Distinguishing between the work of the CCAC and efforts to reduce CO2, putting its activities in the broader context of international air quality and climate change measures

Relevant Publications


In the news and on the blog

Legal Challenges to Implementing the Paris Agreement

  • Analysing and interpreting the Paris Agreement and developing suggestions for its implementation.
  • Investigating how the CCAC’s activities could be incorporated into the ‘gap’ between the adoption and the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Relevant Publications

In the news and on the blog

Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (UNECE CLRTAP)

  • Assessing the CLRTAP with a view to expanding the geographical scope of the convention to other regions.
  • Investigating the further elaboration of the Gothenburg Protocol of the CLRTAP with regard to ozone and particulates, especially black carbon.

Relevant Publications

  • Lode, B., Toussaint, P. (2016): Clean Air for All by 2030? - IASS Policy Brief2016, 6.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.2312/iass.2016.034
  • Lode, B., Schönberger, P., Toussaint, P. (2016): Clean Air for All by 2030? Air Quality in the 2030 Agenda and in International Law. - Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law25, 1, p. 27-38.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/reel.12151

In terms of methodology, ELIAS took a holistic, interdisciplinary approach. The project examined questions of transformation, the legal framework and stakeholders in their broad significance for air quality, climate change and sustainable development.

In addition to cooperating with its project partners – the University of Potsdam, the TU Dresden, the American Society of International Law, the European Society of International Law, the United Nations Association of Germany, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition – ELIAS has been in regular contact with other researchers, German government representatives, regional and international organisations, as well as civil society actors.