PhD Studentship: Atmospheric Emissions from ships: Should the legal norms and emission standards applicable to ships be different?

University of Southampton - Centre For Private And Commercial Law (Cpcl)

Ship greenhouse gas emissions as  well as emissions of atmospheric pollutants are not monitored or directly regulated. Indirect regulation of chemical contents in bunker oil and efficiency measures based on behavioural changes in the operation ship replace what in most other sectors are clear pressures to reduce atmospheric emissions. Similarly, the control of atmospheric pollutants by ships is lacking behind with bunkers from ships being currently up to 5000 times more polluting than corresponding bunkers used on land.

After 2019 the new international standards will come into force and these will make ship fuels “only” 1000 times more polluting than equivalent machines on land. In the context of Greenhouse Gas Emissions,  international conventions based on the common but differentiated responsibility like the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have been used for voluntary or prescribed mitigation targets by states. These, however, rarely if ever contain targets for shipping. The International Maritime Organisation resists the application of this principle and promotes uniform standards for ships, normally set at the lowest common denominator. The IMO offers emission reductions to ship emissions by reference to the “business as usual” scenario but these represent significant increases in emissions when compared to the baselines chosen by the international community in the UNFCCC framework. Similarly the “no harm “ principle, which imposes on states an obligation not to permit activities in their jurisdiction or under their control to harm neighbouring countries or areas beyond state jurisdiction, apparently is not considered when foreign flagged ships contribute to atmospheric pollution at ports and coastal areas.

The dissertation will research the legitimacy of international legal provisions which appear contradictory or simply violate these fundamental international environmental law principles and the legitimacy of regional organisations, like the EU and independent states to impose unilateral measures on ships in pursuing the objectives of these principles and for the purpose of protecting their population. 

  • The successful candidate will start on 1 October 2018. The scholarship will offer full tuition fee and maintenance funding for 3 years. The doctoral stipend for 2017/18 is currently £14,000.
  • This studentship is only available for full time programmes and is open to applicants from the UK, the EU and overseas.
  • As part of the application you will be required to submit a CV, research proposal, degree certificate and transcripts, two academic references and proof of English language proficiency.
  • The deadline for applications is 15 February 2018. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be informed of interview arrangements between February and March 2018.
  • The awards will be allocated by end of April, with the outcome being communicated to the candidates in May.

Contact Details for applicant

If you wish to discuss any details of the studentship informally, please contact:

  • Postgraduate Research Admissions, Faculty of Business, Law and Art, Email: Telephone: +44(0)23 8059 2562.

How to apply

To apply please follow the ‘Apply’ link on the following webpage:

PhD Law:  

Please mention reference FBLA-LAW-004 in the scholarship section of your application.

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