Three Steps in the Aftermath of COP26: Trade, Key Players, and Decarbonization

European Energy and Environmental Law Review, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp. 298-319, 2022

Queen Mary Law Research Paper No. 389/2022

23 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2022 Last revised: 19 Jan 2023

See all articles by Rafael Leal-Arcas

Rafael Leal-Arcas

Alfaisal University

Manuliza Faktaufon

Queen Mary University of London

Hannah Kasak-Gliboff

New York University Abu Dhabi, Students

Cindy Li

New York University Abu Dhabi, Students

Lee Guantai

New York University Abu Dhabi, Students

Ervin Smajic

New York University Abu Dhabi, Students

Date Written: August 9, 2022

Abstract

This article offers three instruments to effectively mitigate climate change in the context of COP26 and beyond. The first is the interaction between the climate and trade regimes. To that end, this article presents a thought-provoking premise – that mega-regional trade agreements (RTAs) can take a significant role in climate change mitigation. It argues that mega-RTAs can go further to galvanize climate change mitigation, in particular in the energy sector. The energy sector is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, with the majority of energy consumption being supplied by fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil. As such, there are two main arguments made herein. First, mega-RTAs, as tangible indications of what is acceptable to major economies, are the impetus to influencing greater coherence on energy efficiency standards. This contributes to climate action by creating, even if to some extent, the harmonization of an otherwise fragmented status of energy governance. Second, mega-RTAs can create substantive provisions that redirect support from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This is the very essence of the energy transition. It is envisaged that these two roles conveyed effectively through mega-RTAs can substantially support the energy transition and amounts to action that mitigates climate change and promotes sustainable energy. The second instrument to effectively mitigate climate change is the role of two major Asian countries that are key in the fight against climate change, namely India and China. Both countries can play a major role in effectively mitigating climate change in the future, following the agreement at COP26 that coal must be phased down. Lastly, the third instrument is visualizing what a decarbonized future would look like. Two of many possible pathways for decarbonization are examined: clean-energy technologies and shale gas as a bridge to sustainability. The article argues that these pathways can be meaningful for effective climate action and are in alignment with the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Keywords: Glasgow Climate Pact, energy transition, mega-regional trade agreements, fossil fuels, renewable energy, global energy governance, electrification, clean-energy technologies, shale gas, sustainability.

JEL Classification: K33, Q01, Q20, Q27, Q30, Q38, Q32, Q48, Q54, Q56

Suggested Citation

Leal-Arcas, Rafael and Faktaufon, Manuliza and Kasak-Gliboff, Hannah and Li, Cindy and Guantai, Lee and Smajic, Ervin, Three Steps in the Aftermath of COP26: Trade, Key Players, and Decarbonization (August 9, 2022). European Energy and Environmental Law Review, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp. 298-319, 2022, Queen Mary Law Research Paper No. 389/2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4185600

Rafael Leal-Arcas (Contact Author)

Alfaisal University ( email )

P.O. Box 50927
Riyadh, 11533
Saudi Arabia

Manuliza Faktaufon

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Hannah Kasak-Gliboff

New York University Abu Dhabi, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Cindy Li

New York University Abu Dhabi, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Lee Guantai

New York University Abu Dhabi, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Ervin Smajic

New York University Abu Dhabi, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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