Sebastian Oberthür @ European Environmental Law Forum

The third annual conference of the European Environmental Law Forum (EELF) explored the “Effectiveness of Environmental Law" in Aix-en-Provence from 2-4 September. Sebastian Oberthür was invited to deliver one of the opening keynote presentations in front of about 100 of Europe’s leading environmental lawyers.

Sebastian's presentation was entitled “The issue of effectiveness: Evaluating the European climate governance framework” . He advocated an integrated approach to assessing effectiveness that assesses the law in view of the behavioural changes it induces and the contribution it thereby makes to solving the underlying problem. With respect to EU climate governance, he – drawing on the recent publication of Decarbonization in the European Union – on the one hand argued that the 2014 agreement of the European Council on a 2030 framework for climate and energy (including strengthened headline targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency) can be considered remarkable in view of unfavourable framework conditions. On the other hand, the agreement continues the established pattern of “catch-up governance” in EU climate and energy policy (too little, too late). It thus needs to be further strengthened in order for the EU to contribute its fair share to limiting the increase of global average temperature to not more than 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.