Forests under international Climate Change Law
PhD student: Mrs Dr Y.M. Gordeeva
Promotor: B. Vanheusden
Duration: 4/9/2012 - 3/9/2016
PhD defence: Hasselt, 23/10/2017
Contemporary science provides evidence on the interdependence of the two global environmental problems such as climate change (CC) and deforestation . On the one hand, CC disadvantages health and vitality of trees. On the other, forest degradation and deforestation release carbon stored in each tree into the atmosphere and reduce carbon uptake by forests, thus, contribute to CC. Historically, based on the scientific evidence available at that time, international law began to address CC and deforestation relatively autonomously. As a result, present international law on climate change and forests have differing mandates, principles and structures as well as non-identical state membership. The recent scientific evidence proves that global environmental problems, such as CC and deforestation, do not fit neatly within a single international legal regime . This gives rise to overlapping and conflicting norms between the regimes . If not detected and addressed timely, such legal conflicts may further exacerbate the two environmental problems. For instance, combating climate change may contribute to global deforestation and forest degradation. The main objective of the research is to analyse the interaction between the climate change international legal regime and the international legal regime on forests , i.e. to understand how different branches of norms and institutions overlap with regard to forestry. The research is developed upon a systematic legal literature review, consultations with leading researchers and professionals, as well as the comparison of international law implementation in two national legal systems. In order to achieve its main objective, the research first describes the physics of climate change; outlines the main causes and effects of deforestation; and shows interrelation of the two environmental problems. The research sets a legal context by the analysis of the international legal regime on climate change with a special focus on forests within the regime. The dissertation proceeds with a thorough study of the international legal regime on forests. The research further analyses the interaction of the two legal regimes at the implementation level. The legal systems of two key-players in the global environmental politics were selected for the purpose of the research: the European Union (EU) and the Russian Federation (RF) . The conclusion unites all findings of the dissertation, outlines the key issues, which require urgent attention from policy-makers, and provides recommendations for possible further international forests and climate change law development.