The Future of Climate Change Negotiations Project on Ethics, Regulation and Global Policy supports and funds a small group of students working with two faculty members on an interdisciplinary project regarding the global climate change negotiations. Students will each prepare a report on an international regulatory process that is relevant to the international climate change negotiations which will be used as inputs to an expert process being organized by the UN Climate Change Secretariat. In addition, they will present their reports at an international event held in spring 2013 in connection with the UN negotiating process. Students’ travel expenses to attend the international meeting will be covered by a grant from the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics.
The project spans the fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters. Students may register for the Independent Study in either semester, depending on their schedule, and will have some flexibility as to when they do the bulk of their work, although the completion, presentation and evaluation of the reports will occur in the spring. The Independent Study can be used to satisfy the College of Law graduation writing requirement.
The context for this project is the adoption of the Durban Platform by the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which launched a new round of negotiations to develop a legal instrument to address climate change from 2020 on. The negotiations began earlier this year and are scheduled to finish in 2015. Key to this process is a review of what lessons might be learned from other international regulatory regimes. The student papers will contribute to this inquiry. The project is premised on the idea that climate change is a crucial issue involving the intersection between law and ethics, as well as an iconic test of the importance of integrating coherent moral principles with global policymaking. All too often, the public mechanisms – treaties, monitoring bodies, etc. – for facing climate change are largely discussed in scientific and regulatory terms. But, arguably, technical/administrative knowledge in the area only gains broad meaning through an engagement with law and ethics in a manner that links theory, data and focused action. The project will be led by Dan Bodansky, Lincoln Professor of Law, Ethics, and Sustainability, in partnership with Daniel Rothenberg, Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs and Lincoln Fellow for Ethics and International Human Rights Law.