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«ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH OF THE FEDERAL MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, NATURE CONSERVATION, BUILDING AND NUCLEAR SAFETY Project No. (FKZ) 3711 11101 ...»

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Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering sufficiently specific obligation for its parties to adopt measures which impose a ban or significant restrictions. 178 Rather, the Ozone Convention constitutes a first step, a framework, under which the development of specific obligations was envisaged. To this end, the Ozone Convention allows for the adoption of Protocols by its Conference of the Parties in Article 6 (4) (h). 179 Parties already started to negotiate a protocol at the diplomatic conference, where the Ozone Convention was adopted. 180 Its own obligations are characterized by “abstractness and broad language”. 181 The Montreal Protocol, in contrast, contains very specific measures. In its original form, its core provision was Article 2, the obligation of parties to limit and reduce the consumption and production of the ozone-depleting substances listed in its Annex A. 182 A distinct characteristic of the Montreal Protocol consists in its innovative provisions allowing for flexible amendments (Article 2 (10)) and adjustments (Article 2 (9)). 183 Parties used these provisions to widen the scope of the Montreal Protocol considerably over the years, mainly by subjecting more substances to the regulations of the Montreal Protocol. However, H2S and SO2 are both not covered by the Montreal Protocol, but it would be generally possible to include these substances through amendments to the protocol. 184 It needs to be stressed that even if the Montreal Protocol would include H2S and SO2, it would regulate their import, export, production and consumption; not their use or emission. This point is rarely mentioned in previous studies on the legal framework for geoengineering. 185It means that including H2S and SO2, under the current structure of the Montreal Protocol would restrict this geoengineering activity only to the extent that the restrictions imposed on production or import of these substances would affect the actual carrying out of the activity.

5.1.3.3 Chicago Convention One way of injecting aerosols into the atmosphere is by emitting them from airplanes. This section therefore briefly analyses international law applying to airplane traffic that could be relevant for geoengineering. 186 For a similar assessment see Virgoe (2009) 111, Heintschel van Heinegg (2004) 1013.

Beyerlin (2000) 169.

Beyerlin/Marauhn (2011) 154.

See Beyerlin (2000) 170; Beyerlin/Marauhn (2011) 156 and Heintschel van Heinegg (2004) 1013.

For a comprehensive discussion of these flexible provisions see Bankobeza (2005) 114 and 117; see also Gehring (2007) 489.

This assessment is not disputed in the literature. See for example Reichwein and Wiertz (2010) 22.

For example, Virgoe (2009) 111, merely states that “the Montreal Protocol might pose a serious obstacle to stratospheric sulfur injections, given the known impact of sulfate aerosol on stratospheric ozone”. Lin (2011) however, explicitly mentions that the Montreal Protocol “restricts the consumption and production of ozonedepleting substances” (emphasis added).

With the exception of Proelß et al (2011) and -very briefly- UBA (2011), previous studies have not addressed this aspect. Proelß et al. (2011) 31. The study by Proelß et al. (2011) served as input for Rickels et al. (2011). As the discussion of the Chicago Convention was not included in the latter, the former is quoted here.

Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering State sovereignty extends to the air column above a state’s territory, and ends where outer space begins. 187 This principle is affirmed in Article 1 of the Chicago Convention. Although the exact delimitation between airspace and outer space has been debated for decades, 188 it is common ground that geoengineering by stratospheric aerosols would be carried out in airspace. A state would therefore generally be allowed to introduce H2S and SO2 into the stratosphere over its own territory. According to Article 17 of the Chicago Convention, aircraft have the nationality of the state in which they are registered.

The introduction of H2S and SO2 into the stratosphere over the territory of a different state (in this case, different from the nationality of the aircraft) is generally subject to the rules of international law protecting the sovereignty of states. The overflight of a state’s territory 189 as well as the release of H2S and SO2 into the stratosphere over a state’s territory would therefore generally require the agreement of this state. However, states have entered into a number of multilateral and bilateral conventions which permit, under certain conditions, overflight and landing of aircraft in the territories of contracting parties. 190 For example, Article 5 of the Chicago Convention allows aircraft on non-scheduled flights “to make flights into or in transit non-stop across [other contracting parties’] territory”. 191 In contrast, scheduled international flights over or into the territory of another state require, according to the Chicago Convention, the authorisation of that state. 192 However, there is a special rule for scheduled international flights under the International Air Services Transit Agreement, which supplements the Chicago Convention, contracting states grant each other the privilege to fly across their territory without landing.

As to the introduction of H2S and SO2 into the stratosphere over areas beyond national jurisdiction, i.e., the high seas, Article 87.1 (b) UNCLOS provides that the freedom of the high seas includes freedom of overflight both for coastal and land-locked states. For the parties to the Chicago Convention, the freedom of overflight is subject to regulation adopted based on its Article 12. 193 In contrast to the rights to overflight, the disposal of substances from aircraft over the territory of another state is apparently not addressed by the Chicago Convention or any other multilateral convention. It would therefore be subject to the regulation of the subjacent state and generally require the authorisation of that state. There is no specific regulation concerning Fischer (2004) 903. Proelß et al. (2011) 31 and Umweltbundesamt (2011) 34, also note this principle in the context of geoengineering measures.





See section on space installations.

“The principle of respect for territorial sovereignty is also directly infringed by the unauthorised overflight of a state’s territory by aircraft belonging to or under the control of the government of another state.”, ICJ, Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), judgment of 27 June 1986, para. 251.

Shaw (2008) 542.

According to Article 6 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, scheduled international flights over or into the territory of another state require the authorization of that state.

Article 6 Chicago Convention.

Fischer (2004) 906.

Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering the disposal of substances over the high seas. 194 This does, however, not necessarily imply that such disposal completely unrestricted. It could be argued, for example, that the freedom over the high seas do not give the right to exclude for a significant period of time other states from exercising their right to use the high seas and the air space above. 195 This has been argued regarding military maneuvers on the high seas A similar restriction could apply to the introduction of aerosols into the stratosphere. However, whether and to what extent this geoengineering technique would exclude others from exercising their rights, and thus be restricted, would probably need to be established in each specific case.

5.1.3.4 London Convention / London Protocol; UNCLOS LC and LP were adopted in 1972 and 1996 respectively. They both govern pollution from dumping of wastes and other material in the marine environment. The LP supersedes the LC for its parties (Article 23 LP). However, to date, not all parties of the LC have signed and ratified the LP. Thus, the LC maintains to be relevant to ocean dumping activities.

The LC and LP apply to all marine areas outside internal waters. 196 Broadly, the LC and LP require Parties to individually and collectively promote the effective control of all sources of marine pollution. Under the LC, dumping is defined as the “any deliberate disposal of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea.” (LC Article 3(1)(a)). Article 4(1) LP contains almost the same definition, referring to dumping as “any deliberate disposal into the sea”. 197 Article 4 of the LC prohibits the dumping of wastes listed in Annex I and requires a special or general permit for all other dumped wastes of significant amounts and concern (Article 4). The LP prohibits dumping as a rule, making exemptions only for wastes listed in Annex I.

Dumping explicitly includes the disposal of matter from aircraft and therefore covers the injection of aerosols into the atmosphere by emitting them from airplanes. "Wastes or other matter" under both LC and LP is defined as “material and substance of any kind, form or description”, 198 and accordingly includes H2S and SO2. The disposal of aerosols would clearly be deliberate.

To constitute dumping, the disposal would have to take place “at sea” (LC) or “into the sea” (LP).

The sea includes all marine waters other than the internal waters of states. 199 On the face of the wording of the LP, the introduction of aerosols into the stratosphere does not directly dispose of them into the sea. Even when the aerosols introduced into the stratosphere might potentially be washed down into the sea, they are likely to be transformed by chemical reaction into other substances. As far as the substances released into the atmosphere are different from those For a similar assessment see Proelß et al. (2011) 31, Additionally, Czarnecki (2008) 136-137 notes that the international law governing air traffic does not contain any specific regulation regarding weather modification activities.

Fischer (2004) 909-910.

As of 5 April 2012, there are 87 parties to the London Convention and 40 parties to the London Protocol, see www.londonprotocol.imo.org.

Emphasis added.

according to Article 3 (4) LC and Article 1 (8) LP The LC or LP have not been addressed by previous studies in respect of aerosol injection. Cf. Rickels et al. (2011), Umweltbundesamt (2011) and Zedalis (2010) 23.

Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering reaching the sea, the release into the atmosphere arguably does not qualify as disposal into the sea. 200 This reading of the LP’s wording could be expanded by referring to the LC’s “at sea” for consistency. Yet, to the contrary, the fact that the LP uses a different wording than the older LC could be regarded as a clarification of the LC’s less clear wording in this respect. Some support for this latter understanding is provided by the German official translations of the LC and LP, which state “into” the sea for both instruments. 201 There is no indication that the purpose of the LC includes addressing emissions into the atmosphere as well as the marine environment.

On this basis, the introduction of aerosols into the stratosphere would apparently not constitute dumping under the LC and LP. However, the parties to the LP could clarify their interpretation of this requirement in accordance with Article 31(2)(a) VCLT.



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