Governing Ocean Acidification: Framing an Emergent Issue Across Existing Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Seminar/Forum

Governing Ocean Acidification: Framing an Emergent Issue Across Existing Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Australian-German Climate and Energy College
257
Level1, 187 Grattan St

Map

More information

T: 83444124

events@climate-energy-college.org

Ocean acidification is increasingly recognized as a potentially devastating threat to marine ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. Despite this, no existing multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) explicitly requires a response to it and the issue remains largely unaddressed in international environmental law and policy. The problem of ocean acidification does not sit comfortably within the mandate of any existing MEA, especially in regard to its mitigation. Many scholars and practitioners have sought to address ocean acidification under existing agreements largely via proposals for treaty amendments or the conclusion of new legal instruments, such as implementing agreements or protocols. Implementation of these proposals has been limited.

Through my PhD I established an alternative approach to expanding the MEA governance of ocean acidification by exploring the role that problem framing can play in situating ocean acidification within existing MEA mandates. I contend that the current framing of ocean acidification as a CO2 problem, concurrent to climate change has resulted in the problem being regarded as predominantly outside the mandates of most MEAs, thereby narrowing the scope of responses available and creating significant gaps in the ocean acidification governance architecture.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, I analyzed the applicability of existing treaty texts to various problem frames (treaty interpretation) and compared their capacity to respond to ocean acidification against an idealized version of ocean acidification governance (gap-analysis). I argue that the utilization of alternative problem frames can situate the issue more effectively within existing MEA mandates, thereby opening up response options without the need for the development of new legal instruments.

Presenter

  • Ms Ellycia Harrould-Kolieb
    Ms Ellycia Harrould-Kolieb, University of Melbourne