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Researching Climate Change
In vino veritas? Researching
International Environmental Law with
a Clear Head in the Hazy Era of
Climate Change
Marylin Johnson Raisch
International and Foreign Law Librarian
Bora Laskin Law Library, University of Toronto
CALL Annual Meeting, Niagara-on-the-Lake, May 26, 2003
Building a Knowledge Base
 How would an information specialist approach
creating a resource on the web which would
integrate on- and off-line materials, legal research,
scientific data gathering and analysis (reports), and
policy information?
Approaches to Complex
 Narrative, contextual approach
 Annotated links approach
 The former provides a richer experience for
learning; the latter will eventually become a
set of bookmarks, some of which may rarely
be used.
Narrative Approach
 Tell the story of climate change: the issues, the
treaties, the efforts at compliance, new or amended
 The story will unfold chronologically but in
different locations:UN conferences, EU meetings,
the US political scene, Canadian Parliament and
 Highlight the major documents which emerge from
the process in each venue
Framework Convention on
Climate Change 1992
 The story:
 The documents:
 UN FCCC adopted 9 May 1992,
New York
 Berlin Mandate, Decision
1/CP.1: The Berlin Mandate:
Review of the adequacy of
Article 4, paragraph 2(a) and
(b), of the Convention,
including proposals related to
a protocol and decisions on
FCCC/CP/1995/7 :earliest
doc at site (COP 1)
 Geneva Ministerial Declaration
 Text pamphlet pdf at; may be Googled
with strong title words,
(Rio Earth Summit) , 13 I.L.M.
851 (1992) Official documents
search page- keywords Berlin,
Geneva; limit to COPs; earliest
two years should be selected
Kyoto Protocol to UNFCCC
 The story:
 The documents:
 The Kyoto Protocol to the
 Buenos Aires Plan of Action,
1/CP.4 1998
 Bonn implementation of above,
COP 6 Part II, 25 September
 Marrakesh Accords, 21 January
 Canada ratifies 17 December
 Treaty text
kp/kpeng.pdf at site or via Google,
strong words; citation for actual UN
doc., FCCC/CP/1997/7/Add.1
 Buenos Aires Plan of Action at
FCCC official doc site; UN Doc.
 Bonn, FCCC/CP/2001/5
 Marrakesh Accords, U.N. Doc.
FCCC/CP/2001/13 (report) and
UNFCCC and Kyoto Travaux
and Commentary
 ;“Travaux” including Kyoto,
 Commentary, including Kyoto,
 Oberthür, Sebastian and Hermann E. Ott, The Kyoto Protocol:
International Climate Policy for the 21st Century. Berlin: Springer, 1999.
Chronology of the climate change regime, citations to travaux
préparatoires, and article-based commentary.
 Climate Change “for dummies” (Beginner’s guide at the FCCC site):
 Do not forget to look at UNFCCC text. Example: Dispute settlement:
Art. 19 Kyoto incorporates FCCC Art. 14 in many respects and Art. 33
of UN Charter (peaceful negotiations  ICJ or arbitration
Compliance System and
“Kyoto Mechanisms”
 Compliance Committee: See
 Facilitative branch
 Enforcement branch
 Emissions reduction and trading: 1) joint
implementation, art. 6 2) clean development
mechanism (CDM), art. 12 and 3) emissions
trading, art. 17. See
 Industrialized or Annex I countries -marked by *
 Developing countries
European Union and its
European Community
 Created first “bubble” with collective fulfillment of
commitments under art. 3, para.1 and art. 4
 Activities and legal texts across the institutions
(Council, Parliament, etc.),
 European Commission “green portal” with Climate
Change home page, and
European Climate Change Programme (ECCP),
United States
 Pace Law School Global Warming Central, helps “cut
to the chase” in a complex policy arena, myriad
Congressional and executive documents, US federal and
state developments
 Climate Change Activities in the United
States, June, 2002
Pew Center on Global Climate Change
 Climate Change Plan for Canada, Nov. 21,
2002, Environment Canada
.html (English version)
 Government of Canada Climate Change Web
NGOs, Databases: Advocacy,
Policy, and Science
 NGOs: list of admitted organizations under FCCC
art. 7,
 National Communications,
 Science:
GHG inventory database,;
Atlas of Population & Environment, American Association for
the Advancement of Science,
 Focus on Climate Change, Global Sustainable
Development and International Law at Bora Laskin
Law Library, University of Toronto,
Can’t stand the heat (from global
warming)? Get out of the kitchen, but
don’t forget…
 Bubbles-group of countries
with joint emission reduction
 Baskets-single obligation to
reduce all GHGs
 COP/MOP- Conference of the
Parties sits as Meeting of Parties
 PAMs-policies and measures, art.
 COW-Committee of the Whole
 Alphabet soup: SBI,
SBSTA-Subsidiary Body :for
Implementation, for Scientific
and Technological Advice