Designing international trade in energy governance for EU energy security

Designing international trade in energy governance for EU energy security / Rafael Leal-Arcas. Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper 197/2015, May 2015, pp. 1-4. (Forthcoming in Heffron, R. and Little, G. (eds.) Delivering Energy Law and Policy in the EU and the US: A Reader, Edinburgh University Press, 2015)

Author’s abstract:

This chapter argues that it is necessary to develop effective trade policy instruments for European Union (EU) energy security to identify the existing gaps in energy trade governance. The idea is to develop a concept of ‘governance by design’ through the interplay of various legal regimes and institutions, with the ultimate aim of facilitating the creation of the planned European energy union. The aim is to achieve affordable, secure and sustainable energy. The EU is the first region in the world to set up the ambitious target of decarbonizing its economy by 2050. All of this could be reproduced in other regions of the world and eventually create a new international energy order. This requires a fresh and comprehensive approach to legal instruments.

Without a deep understanding of the current systemic aspects of energy trade governance and their implications for EU energy security, it is impossible to achieve effective change. Our world faces two major challenges when it comes to energy. For one thing, one person in five on the planet still lacks access to electricity, and almost three billion people still use wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating. The other main global energy challenge is that, in places with access to modern energy services, the lion’s share of energy usage stems from fossil fuels. A fuller understanding of the link between energy trade governance and EU energy security is necessary to propose reforms.

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