Research Projects (Third Party Funded)
The OceanNETs project has been running since 1 July 2020 and is funded by the EU within the Horizon 2020 programme with a total of 7.2 million euros. The overall coordination lies with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.
In 2015, the international community agreed in Paris to limit global warming to two degrees or less by 2100. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a special report which shows clear advantages in limiting global warming to only 1.5 degrees: less loss of biodiversity, fewer weather extremes, less sea-level rise, to name just a few examples. Model calculations used by the IPCC also show that this 1.5 degree target is still achievable. However, almost all simulations require so-called negative emissions for this. In addition to the urgently needed emission reductions, technologies and near-natural solutions that actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are therefore becoming the focus of scientific interest. These are known as Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs).
OceanNETs explores the potential and risks of various ocean-based NETs on the basis of a transdisciplinary approach. The aim of the project is to find out whether ocean-based NETs can play an essential and sustainable role in achieving climate neutrality in the sense of the Paris Agreement.
The legal sub-project led by Professor Proelss examines the compatibility of the use of ocean-based NETs with the requirements of the international law of the sea. In view of the fact that NETs in the ocean will at least partly not de deployed directly by States, but by research consortia and private companies, the project analyses, among other things, whether the international law of the sea - directly or indirectly - also regulates the behaviour of private actors. The project will also look at possible models for the future regulation of ocean NETs. This will include an examination of the 2013 amendment to the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Protocol) concerning the regulation of marine geoengineering. Finally, attention will be paid to the interrelationship between the international law of the sea and climate protection law.
The official website of the project can be found here: https://www.oceannets.eu/
The project investigates existing fisheries management regimes with regard to their applicability to mesopelagic fish stocks and develops proposals for a sustainable management regime specifically applicable to these stocks based on the precautionary approach. It aims to identify core elements of a sustainable management system and to contribute to their implementation before large-scale commercial exploitation of mesopelagic fish stocks takes place. To this end, it starts by analysing whether the fisheries management regimes that have been implemented with regard to the high seas in the context of regional fisheries management organisations are applicable to mesopelagic fish stocks. In the second part of the project, requirements arising from the precautionary approach will be developed and used as a basis for evaluating the management measures identified and evaluated in the first part. Finally, the project addresses the question of how an optimal management regime applicable to mesopelagic fish stocks should be designed from the perspective of international law to meet the requirements of the fishing industry as well as to safeguard the conservation of the fish stocks concerned.
The regime of the EEZ and freedom of overflight: An assessment
The aim of the project is to assess the scope of Article 58 (1) of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) in relation to the freedom of overflight, and other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to this freedoms, such as those associated with the operation of aircraft. Its overall objective is to contribute to a better understanding and lawful implementation of the regime of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in particular as far as the relationship between the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State on the one hand and the aforementioned freedoms of other States are concerned. The project will address the following research questions:
To what extent have the high seas freedoms mentioned in Article 58 (1) LOSC be made applicable to the EEZ? What is the exact meaning of the phrases ‘subject to the relevant provisions of this Convention’ and ‘compatible with the other provisions of this Convention’ included in that provision?
Which activities are covered by the term ‘overflight’, and what is accepted as other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to the corresponding freedom? Is freedom of overflight under Article 58 (1) LOSC a legal obstacle towards the establishment of “Air Defense Identification Zones”, which have been designated by, e.g., China, Japan and Korea?
To what extent is Article 58 (1) LOSC applicable with regard to overlapping EEZ claims, or in areas with regard to which States have implemented joint management regimes?
How can conflicts between different uses of the EEZ be avoided, or resolved respectively? In particular, how can a fair balance between the diverging interests of coastal States on the one hand and other States on the other be provided? What is the exact meaning, with specific regard to overflight, of the duty to take due regard enshrined in Articles 56 (2) and 58 (3) LOSC?
- Prof. Dr. Alexander Proelß
- Soojeong Choi
GEOSTOR: Submarine carbon dioxide storage in geological formations of the German North Sea
GEOSTOR is an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research part of the DAM mission “Marine Carbon Storage as a Pathway to Decarbonisation”. It aims to identify storage formations worthy of investigation and to develop a “roadmap” for the implementation of CO2 storage in the German North Sea area. The legal sub-project led by Professor Proelss at UHH examines and evaluates the current legal framework for sub-seabed storage of CO2in the German EEZ (and thus on the continental shelf) in the North Sea. The project analyzes whether and under which legal conditions demonstration projects for sub-seabed CO2 storage can be carried out and identifies any need for reform at the levels of international, European and domestic law. At the same time, it contributes to the development of criteria for the integration of CO2 storage into spatial planning for the German EEZ and to the identification and legal management of conflicts of use (or the creation of synergies) that could arise as a result of the operation of sub-seabed CO2 storage sites. In this respect, the legal sub-project not only deals with the specific relevant requirements for carbon storage, but also with the requirements of nature conservation law and other use-related regulatory complexes. Overall, the project aims to clarify open legal issues related to the development and use of marine carbon storage as a decarbonization pathway, as well as to avoid and resolve conflicts of use and objectives – ultimately, therefore, to ensure the sustainable use of marine space under German jurisdiction.
Test-ArtUP: Road Testing Ocean Artificial Upwelling
Test-ArtUp is an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research part of the DAM mission “Marine Carbon Storage as a Pathway to Decarbonisation”. It aims to examine, in a unique transdisciplinary approach, the use of artificial upwelling for the purpose of CO2 removal with respect to its technical application and optimization, its capacity for additional CO2 uptake and long-term storage, the associated environmental risks and ecological side effects, the related economic benefits and trade-offs and the legal constraints and governance requirements. The legal sub-project led by Professor Proelss at UHH examines the legal framework for the use of artificial upwelling for the purpose of CO2 removal. On the one hand, it aims to gain legal clarity regarding the permissibility of both field experiments and possible large-scale operations; on the other hand, it analyses ways of integrating artificial upwelling into international marine environmental and climate protection law in order to avoid collisions between CO2 removal and other legitimate uses of the sea as well as marine environmental and biodiversity conservation concerns. In order to achieve these goals, the project focusses in a first step on the applicability and potential legal consequences of the permitting regime applicable to marine geoengineering activities under the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Protocol) and – in particular – the German High Seas Dumping Act to devices used for artificially increasing upwelling. The second part of the project addresses how artificial upwelling is regulated under public international law beyond the stage of authorization. In this context, the project examines in particular the basis and scope of State jurisdiction over devices used for the purpose of increasing artificial upwelling, as well as the applicability of the regime of marine scientific research to artificial upwelling. Finally, the project analyses the concept of ocean governance as a mechanism for integrating artificial upwelling into existing marine environmental protection and climate change law.
The project “Conservation of Living Marine Resources in the Polar Regions” (CMLRPR) analyses the public international legal regime for conservation of living marine resources in the polar regions, namely in the Arctic and Antarctic. The study is carried out in cooperation with Dr. Nengye Liu of the University of Adelaide Law School in Australia. During the project, the German side of the cooperation is to focus on the northern hemisphere whereas the Australian side shall focus on the southern hemisphere.
The findings of the respective studies are to be consolidated and discussed in the course of project workshops. To this end, research associate Valentin Schatz has travelled to Australia as a visiting scholar in spring 2017 and 2018. Likewise, Dr. Nengye Liu has visited Germany twice in December 2017 and 2018 in the course of the project.
The research results of the project will be published in peer-reviewed journals and book projects.
- Prof. Dr. Alexander Proelß
- Valentin Schatz
- Dr. Nengye Liu (University of Adelaide Law School)
Funding: The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) supports the research team with regard to the travel expenses necessary for an effective cooperation.
Funding period: 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2018
Project period: 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019
- Schatz, V., The Settlement of Disputes Concerning Conservation of Marine Living Resources in the Arctic and Antarctic High Seas – From Fragmentation to Comprehensive Compulsory Jurisdiction?, in: Nengye Liu, Cassandra Brooks and Tianbao Qin (eds.), Governing Marine Living Resources in the Polar Regions, Edward Elgar, 2019 (forthcoming)
- Schatz, V., Proelss, A., Liu, N., The 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean: A Critical Analysis, International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 34, 2019, 1-59 (forthcoming)
- Schatz, V., Proelss, A., Liu, N., The 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean: A Primer, EJIL: Talk! – Blog of the European Journal of International Law, 26 October 2018, https://www.ejiltalk.org/the-2018-agreement-to- prevent-unregulated-high-seas-fisheries-in-the-central-arctic-ocean-a- primer/?fbclid=IwAR3rwKsjserpBuO5QaYUMWtWfnIqw- XM09qc3hA5VKppeF34VtGXPoH_hMY
Presentations of Research Output
- Valentin Schatz, The Provisions for Participation in the 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean: A Critical Analysis, Paper Presentation, 11th Polar Law Symposium, University of Tromsø, Arctic University of Norway (Faculty of Law and K. G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea), 2-4 October 2018, Tromsø, Norway
- Valentin Schatz, Climate Change and Precaution: Developing a New Legal Regime for High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, Paper Presentation, International Student Conference: Issues of Adaptation to Climate Change from the Perspectives of National, European and International Law, Charles University Prague, 4 November 2017, Prague, Czech Republic
- Valentin Schatz, The New International Instrument on Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean: A Step Forward for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources in the Arctic?, Paper Presentation, Conference: Advances in Integrated Ocean Research towards Sustainable Development, Cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean”, 3 July 2017, Kiel, Germany
- Valentin Schatz, The Settlement of Disputes concerning the Conservation of Marine Living Resources in the Polar Regions, Paper Presentation, Conference: Conservation of Marine Living Resources in the Polar Regions: Science, Politics and Law, Collaborative Innovation Centre for Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights (CICTSMR), Research Institute of Environmental Law (RIEL), Wuhan University, China, 18 March 2017, Wuhan, China
- Valentin Schatz, Die Erhaltung der lebenden Meeresressourcen in den Polarregionen: Eine völkerrechtliche Betrachtung, Presentation, Montagsvortrag – Campus der Generationen der Universität Trier; 6 November 2017, University of Trier, Germany
- Valentin Schatz, The Role of Part XV of UNCLOS in the Judicial Settlement of inter-State Disputes concerning the Conservation of Arctic High Seas Fisheries, University of Adelaide Law School; 26 April 2017, Adelaide, Australia
CELARIT (Climate Engineering Liability and Reliability: An Integrated Treatment) was part of DFG priority program “Climate Engineering: Risks, Challenges, Opportunities?”. It was an interdisciplinary project, which reunited a team of climate modelers, economists, legal scholars, and philosophers to examine climate engineering (CE) capabilities through an integrated treatment of international liability issues and issues of model reliability and robustness based on the outputs of the predominantly disciplinary research in climate modelling, economics, philosophy, and law carried out under the precursor project CEIBRAL. The core objective of CELARIT was to deal with the problem of using models as evidence in the context of liability for CE through an interdisciplinary integration of the most recent developments in the state of the art in climate and CE research and in the constituent disciplines. In contrast to traditional liability regimes, any court or other body having to adjudicate on a liability case involving CE will not be able to evaluate the facts of the case on the basis of inspection or experience. Instead, it will have to rely on the simulations of computer models which may serve as scientific evidence. This dependence assigns central importance to model reliability and model robustness and immediately motivates the four WPs described below. A key feature, and an important step above and beyond CEIBRAL, is that CELARIT addresses cross-cutting issues in all WPs and therefore provides an integrated treatment across disciplines. This constitutes a methodological reorientation towards an amalgamated approach, which includes a systematic investigation of the limitations and potentials that model uncertainty offers for governing CE implementation in a societally responsible fashion.
- Prof. Dr. Alexander Proelß
- Dr. Kleoniki Pouikli
- Henrike Martin
Funding: The project is being funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) as part of the DFG priority program “Climate Engineering: Risks, Challenges, Opportunities?”.
Project period: 01.01.2017 - 01.01.2017 - 30.6.2018
Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the research project „Climate Engineering Impacts – Between Reliability and Liability“ (CEIBRAL) was a sub-project of the Priority Programme (SPP) “Climate Engineering – Risks, Challenges, Opportunities?” (www.spp-climate-engineering.de).
The project aimed to develop basic elements of an efficient and just international liability regime, regulating possibly negative repercussions of Climate Engineering, in order to offer answers to questions of the legitimacy of Climate Engineering. This proved to be especially challenging in light of the possibly difficult establishment of a causal connection between a Climate Engineering measure and damages sustained. In this regard, the problem of risk distribution played a major role. Due to the fact that any assessment of Climate Engineering’s implications relies on climate models, the validity of these model predictions posed another issue.
Since the solution of these issues requires an interdisciplinary approach, this project brought together climate modelers, philosophers, economists and legal scholars. The legal scope worked to develop characteristics of a future liability regime that can meet the requirements of Climate Engineering. Its work was based on existing regulations of responsibility and liability under international law, analysis of national liability regimes and findings of the other disciplines.
The research project “ECO2”, funded by the European Union, analyzed the risks of storing CO2 under the seabed. Using the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, CO2-emissions are captured from power plants and other industrial facilities in order to deposit it in the ground or under the seabed. The CCS method is seen as a key technology for the reduction of CO2 emissions and for mitigating climate change. However, its concrete impacts on ecosystems and the probability of CO2-Leakage remain to be unknown.
The University Trier is a member of the ECO2-Consortium, which is made up of 27 institutes from nine countries and gathered approximately 100 geologists, chemists, legal, social and economic scholars. In the last years, ECO2 has developed risk analyses and guidelines for the realization and operation of the CCS technology on a European and international scale. The University Trier compiled a survey of the legal framework for the CCS technology with regard to both public international and European law. This survey’s results support the development of effective means of risk management in the context of the ECO2 project.
The objective of the GROOM project was to design a new European Research Infrastructure that uses underwater gliders for collecting oceanographic data. This new infrastructure would be beneficial for a large number of marine activities and societal application, which can be related to climate change, marine ecosystems, resources, or security and which rely on academic oceanographic research and/or operational oceanography systems.
GROOM has defined the scientific, technological, and legal framework of this European glider capacity. GROOM was a key project for building the required observatory network that would allow the Marine Strategy Framework Directive to be implemented. GROOM has developed in line with other European and international initiatives supporting marine in-situ observations, like in particular Euro-Argo, JERICO, and GOOS.
An article on “The Operation of Gliders under the International Law of the Sea”, written by research associate Tobias Hofmann and Prof. Proelss was published in the journal “Ocean Development and International Law” (46 Ocean Development & International Law  167-187). The article emerged from the research project “GROOM – Gliders for Research, Ocean Observation and Management” und deals with legal requirements for the use of unmanned oceanographic measuring platforms
Goal of the project was the compilation of a comprehensive commentary in English language on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 including its Annexes. For scholars and practitioners alike, the commentary aims to facilitate access to the legal framework, illustrate methods of resolution and supply key sources on the practice of states and their organs. The project was co-funded by the German Research Foundation.
The commentary on the UNCLOS recognizes its great significance in two ways: The project makes an important scientific contribution by analyzing every single provision of the Convention regarding its terminology, its systematic context, its historical background as well as its purpose and function. Additionally, the detailed analysis of the of the Convention’s provisions assists national and supranational legislatures and practitioners in taking into account the standards set forth by public international law and its implementation in the respective national legal systems. After all, all member states of the EU as well as the EU itself have acceded to the Convention.
The commentary is edited by Prof. Proelss. More than 40 authors from Germany and abroad have contributed to this project. The Volume can be ordered here.