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Pushing the Boundaries of Climate & Environmental Law and Policy

As the new academic year is starting, numerous projects are already in full swing at the UEF Law School’s Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL). This blog post highlights just three work streams relevant to ACCC.

Firstly, work on the upcoming book “Reducing Emissions of Short-lived Climate Pollutants: Perspectives on Law, Science and Policy” (edited by Dr Yulia Yamineva, Prof Kati Kulovesi, and Dr Eugenia Recio) – the first comprehensive account of legal and policy actions taken against Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) globally – is entering the crucial final stages. Despite being key contributors to both climate change and air pollution, these pollutants’ governance has been discussed in just a few publications that focus on specific details rather than the broader picture – a gap this book will finally close, thereby also setting the research agenda going forwards. While the book’s main focus is on international and transnational law and governance, many chapters evaluate their interface with laws and policies at the domestic level drawing on a wide selection of country examples across developed and developing countries in Europe, North and South Americas, Africa, and Asia. To be published by Brill in 2023, the volume will be freely available online to further increase its reach. The book also marks the completion of the ERC-funded research project ‘Slowing Down Climate Change: Combining Climate Law and Climate Science to Identify the Best Options to Reduce Emissions of Short-lived Climate Forcers in Developing Countries (2017-2022)’, led by Kulovesi.

Meanwhile, CCEEL is also making important contributions to the 2035Legitimacy Project funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland in 2020-2023(2026). Under the title “Leaving No One Lost in Transition: Citizens and the Legitimacy of Finland’s Transition to a Carbon Neutral Welfare State”, this large multidisciplinary project builds on the recognition that a high degree of legitimacy is crucial for the successful implementation of Finland’s net-zero emissions goal for 2035. CCEEL is leading the project’s consortium and, together with the University of Helsinki, responsible for its legal dimension. Relevant research questions from a legal perspective concern both substantive legitimacy, centred around the social acceptability of climate policies, and formal legitimacy concerning citizens’ possibilities to participate in and influence climate policy processes. The project researchers from the UEF focus on the following themes:   

  • participation and access to information within the UN climate negotiations from the perspective of Finnish actors;
  • the context, function and meaning of ‘just transition’ in international climate law;
  • reform of the Finnish Climate Change Act;
  • and the legal framework on transparency and citizen participation in climate policymaking in Finland and the EU.

Their publications so far examined for example how climate planning processes can be improved and how climate considerations can be better integrated under the Environmental Protection Act and in the Procurement Act (all in Finnish). English-language articles will also be published going forwards and some can already be found on the project’s blog. Research under the 2035Legitimacy Project involves active cooperation with economists, social scientists and climate scientists, yielding interesting research questions and diverse perspectives on the legitimacy of Finland’s climate policy.

Beyond these questions on climate and environmental law more broadly, research at CCEEL has also considered how the transition of one particular sector can be best governed: A recent publication in Nature Climate Change explores the potential for a sectoral climate club to aid in decarbonising the steel industry. CCEEL’s members Prof Harro van Asselt, Prof Sebastian Oberthür and PhD student Catherine Hall participated in preparing the publication under the Horizon-funded project ‘Assessing Sectoral Perspectives on Climate Transitions to Support the Global Stocktake and Subsequent Nationally Determined Contributions’. Currently, producing this crucial commodity generates as much as 10% of global CO2-emissions and, while alternative low-carbon technologies are becoming available, their diffusion requires large-scale investment. Bringing together relevant companies and governments in a club-format to jointly tackle this issue could create the political and economic certainty these investments require.


For more information, contact Yulia Yamineva or Tuula Honkonen, at (a)