Published 22 June 2021
If there is a more complex global project than decarbonizing the energy industry, it is difficult to conceive. It involves every level of government and the private sector in all parts of the world. Even if one were to theorize away the constitutional, legal, physical, economic, and other practical constraints and tradeoffs, the question of how to transform the entire energy industry would present a wicked problem. Indeed, merely understanding the existing global energy industry-how we produce, refine, transport, market, and consume energy in the status quo around the world-let alone identifying and estimating the costs and benefits of decarbonizing it, is an undertaking of epic proportions.
In Decarbonisation and the Energy Industry: Law, Policy and Regulation in Low-Carbon Energy Markets, the editors' effort to examine "the legal and regulatory dynamics of energy transitions in the context of emerging trends towards decarbonization and growth in low-carbon energy sources globally" befits the scale of the global decarbonization project. [pages 2-3.] What unifies the sixteen essays comprising this volume is their approach to studying the issue, which the editors describe as "contextual." The contextual approach views the decarbonization project from multiple dimensions rather than "as purely a 'climate change' and 'environmental law' problem." [page 3.] In addition to the climate and environmental aspects of decarbonization, the volume considers the effects on decarbonization law and policy on the affordability, reliability, and security of the global energy supply, as well as on energy firms' ability to earn just and reasonable returns on their investments. [page 3.]
Consistent with the contextual approach, the essays are marked throughout the volume by a fine attention to detail. The contributions focus on certain details in particular, which, when taken together as a whole, form the structure of the contextual approach. The details examined in the essays may be categorized as follows: (1) the tradeoffs, tensions, and constrains in decarbonizing the energy industry; (2) existing legal, regulatory, and customary institutions including international investment law and taxation; (3) existing and emerging technological innovations; and (4) the particular legal and market landscapes in individual countries and regions. Consider how the contributions address each category in turn.
“Decarbonisation and the Energy Industry: Law, Policy and Regulation in Low-Carbon Energy Markets” Editor(s): Tade Oyewunmi, Penelope Crossley, Frédéric Gilles Sourgens, Kim Talus. 2020, Hardback, 448 pages, ISBN: 9781509932900, Hart Publishing. www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/decarbonisation-and-the-energy-industry-9781509932900/