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‘I Know What I Must Do. It’s just …!’Justice in Emissions Trading Design and the Recent Reforms in New Zealand journal article

Elena Aydos, Sven Rudolph, Achim Lerch

Carbon & Climate Law Review, Volume 14 (2020), Issue 2, Page 118 - 127

New Zealand's Zero Carbon Act passed parliament in 2019 with near-unanimous support, setting a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to net zero by 2050. At the centre of this commitment are the plans to strengthen the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS). The NZ ETS started with predominantly unjust design features and is now undergoing a significant reform. Getting the details right is not only key to New Zealand's success in reaching its statutory commitments and enabling ambition under the Paris Agreement, but also to ensure that the NZ ETS becomes sustainable and fair. Greenhouse gas cap-and-trade (GHG CaT) program design has been predominantly guided by and analyzed from a traditional environmental economics perspective, with a focus on efficiency and effectiveness. Justice criteria, on the other hand, have been largely neglected. The article contributes to the scientific research on truly sustainable GHG CaT by surveying concepts of justice and proposing a comprehensive set of justice criteria for the design of GHG CaT which can be used to evaluate program design at an early stage of development as well as guide structural reviews of existing GHG CaT. Based on these criteria, the current design of the NZ ETS is evaluated. The analysis reveals that the NZ ETS so far has suffered from major design flaws. While there are promising signs that the scheme will become fairer in the near future, there is still scope for improvement for it to fully comply with ambitious and comprehensive sustainability criteria.


Rocky Hill: A Legal Breakthrough in the Consideration of Climate Change and Social Impacts of Coal Mines journal article

Elena Aydos, Belinda Charlton, Gabrielle Cornett, Kelsey Gray, Nita Scott

Carbon & Climate Law Review, Volume 14 (2020), Issue 2, Page 98 - 106

A Superior Court in the Australian state of New South Wales refused consent to a coal mine because of its future contribution to global climate change. Rocky Hill illustrates a watershed moment in the consideration of climate change and social impacts in Australia, representing a significant step beyond what the Courts had previously ruled in relation to those matters. The significance of the decision extends beyond its progressive approach to the recognition of the causal link between coal mining and the impacts of global climate change. The case recognises that lay people still play a part in the democracy of planning decisions, giving voice to minority groups such as Aboriginal people and their views on their living culture and heritage.


Climate Policy Made ‘Down Under’: The Political Economy of a New Carbon Market in Australia journal article

Elena Aydos, Sven Rudolph

Carbon & Climate Law Review, Volume 12 (2018), Issue 4, Page 304 - 315

In the early 2000s fierce battles were fought over carbon pricing in Australian politics. And while the Paris Agreement might facilitate a new push in this direction, stakeholders still struggle with the political legacy of these early debates. Against this background, we evaluate Australia’s former carbon pricing initiatives based on ambitious sustainability criteria. Referring to ‘Public Choice’ arguments, we then use empirical data from a 2017 interview study to analyse the reasons for the eventual political failure of the schemes and for predicting the chances of a new carbon market in Australia. We mainly argue that the former Australian pricing schemes were overly ambitious, and while political barriers remain high, an already visible growing openness in the business community, combined with a possible change in government after the 2019 general election, might lead to a gradual implementation of a new scheme after 2019.

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Issue 2 / 2020