Tackling Climate Change Through Law
Professor Stephen Minas, a scholar of climate change governance, technology transfer and transnational legal structures, played an important role at the November 6-17 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany. The Conference was the 23rd meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The annual COP meeting is the key venue for the international community to set the course of activity under the Climate Convention and the 2016 Paris Agreement.
Professor Minas co-organized a panel discussion on “Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy,” which was co-hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Foundation Jean Jaurès, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the Transnational Law Institute (TLI) of King’s College London. The panel discussed practical options for addressing climate justice in a fair, progressive and socially equitable manner. Professor Minas spoke about the social dimensions of the EU’s Energy Union framework.
Other speakers on the panel included the President of the EESC, Georges Dassis; Cillian Lohan, EESC Rapporteur on Climate Justice; Agnès Michelot of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council; Anne-Beth Skrede, Adviser on Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development with the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions; Mart Raamat, representing the Estonian presidency of the EU; and Emily Hickson, Manager, Net Zero by 2050 at the B-Team, who discussed the business community’s engagement with unions and civil society in scaling up climate action.
Professor Minas also moderated a panel discussion on “A Just Transition, Economic Diversification and the Forum on Response Measures to Climate Change.” Speakers included William Kojo Agyemang-Bonsu, Manager, Mitigation and Transparency Support, UN Climate Secretariat; Peter Govindasamy, member of the Singapore delegation and member of the ad hoc Technical Expert Group; Steven Turnbull from the delegation of Australia; Nick Mabey, Chief Executive and a founding director of E3G; and Annabella Rosemberg, Policy Officer at the International Trade Union Confederation.
Later in the Conference, Professor Minas participated in the side event of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism, which works on climate technology development and transfer. The Technology Executive Committee (TEC) is the policy arm of the mechanism, providing reporting and recommendations on key technological developments; the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) is the implementation arm, responding to technical assistance requests from developing countries. Professor Minas is a member of the TEC’s task forces on mitigation and climate technology financing. As part of the panel discussion, he presented on the TEC’s engagement with the research community and other non-party stakeholders.
Professor Minas also participated in a panel discussion as part of Law Day, hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN is an environmental network encompassing both government and civil society organisations. He is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law and its Specialist Group on Climate Change. The panel discussion focused on opportunities for the Specialist Group to contribute legal advice and research to assist in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and related climate change instruments.
On November 8, the Law and Climate Change Toolkit was launched. The Toolkit is an online platform designed to assist countries in implementing the Paris Agreement through domestic legislation. The Toolkit is a collaboration of the UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN Environment, and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Professor Minas has been working with the project team to develop the Toolkit.
Further information about the UN Climate Change Conference 2017 is available here.