International Law and Sustainable Energy: A Portrait of Failure
Widener University Delaware Law School
July 26, 2010
Environmental Law And Sustainability After Rio (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011)
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-21
Despite energy’s critical role in achieving nearly sustainable development and in mitigating climate change goal, internationally, sustainable energy remains a homeless orphan. In May 2007, after years of preparatory work that was thought to have produced consensus on fundamental sustainable energy policies and principles, the Commission on Sustainable Development met at CSD-15 to adopt a concrete set of specific policies and actions to make the world’s energy system more sustainable and accessible to the world’s poor. Tragically, the CSD-15 not only failed to produce agreement on any new ideas, but the pre-existing consensus on basic principles dissolved. Internationally, not a single substantive issue left hanging after CSD 15 has been resolved in the CSD or other fora, As high-level meetings, such as the UNFCCC December 2009 Copenhagen Conference of the Parties, continue to avoid concrete discussion about how to shift to a more sustainable, low carbon world economy, international talks increasingly become disconnected from real-world policy, science and law. In the absence of international agreement, sustainable energy must be pursued through domestic laws that identify and implement policies that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy investment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: Climate Change, Sustainable Energy, Common but Differentiated Responsibilities
JEL Classification: K32
Date posted: July 26, 2010 ; Last revised: June 4, 2014
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