SOAS University of London

Energy transitions and energy landscapes: What role international law?

Dr Thoko Kaime

Date: 3 February 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 3 February 2016Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar

Global energy systems face multiple interconnected challenges which need to be addressed urgently and simultaneously. Addressing some of these challenges, particularly those singled out in the UN initiative SE4ALL, requires an unprecedented transition of global energy systems. In this discussion, I would like to explore the role that international law and international lawyers could play in the management of such transitions. Relying on my experience of energy policy evolution in a number of southern African states, I argue that international obligations on human rights and sustainable development offer a basic threshold for policy innovation. However, while widely shared and supported global energy goals are necessary and desirable, there is no case for a ‘global energy government’ as a single regime. In order to work, modifications to current systems need to work with existing energy landscapes. Interventions that ignore this caveat risk putting the SE4ALL initiative at risk.

 Dr Thoko Kaime is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the School of Law at SOAS and Senior Lecturer in Law and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Essex. He is a public international lawyer and maintains research and teaching interests in human rights and international environmental law. His work is an ongoing socio-legal critique of international legal arrangements which he expresses through a consideration of a number of critical issues in children’s rights and sustainability governance. He is the author of Cultural Legitimacy and the International Law and Policy on Climate Change (London: Routledge, 2013) and The Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Cultural Legitimacy Critique (Groningen: Europa Law, Publishing, 2011).