The Challenges for Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy

Monday  25 March  2019  8:00 AM    Monday  25 March  2019 9:00 AM
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Last update 26/03/2019


The Challenges for Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy 

Speaker: Raphael Heffron, Professor in Global Energy Law & Sustainability, University of Dundee

The goal of sustainable low carbon energy systems requires a nuanced understanding of social justice concerns. Energy systems are understood broadly as multiple interconnected processes of generation and consumption. These include all components related to production, conversion, delivery, and use of energy.

The current energy transition calls for a rethinking of ethical dilemmas on how to allocate the benefits and costs of scarce energy resources, not only among the citizens of urban and rural; north and south; poor and rich but also between current and future generations. Past experiences have shown that realizing energy projects is seldom an uncontested process. From confrontations over oil extraction, concerns over the sustainability of biofuels, to resistance against hydropower, wind energy projects as well as nuclear power, energy questions seem inherently fraught with conflict and sustainability concerns. This ultimately raises the question of energy justice: how can we understand and foster justice when considering past, present and future energy access and production - energy for whom and for what at whose cost? Considerations such as these have implications for the justice concerns of energy development itself. Given the clear impetus for a drastic change of the energy landscape in the coming decades and the key challenges faced by many countries in meeting increasing energy needs, it is to be expected that these will become crucial questions in the coming decades.

About the speaker

Raphael Heffron is Professor for Global Energy Law & Sustainability at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee. He is a graduate of both Oxford (MSc) and Cambridge (MPhil & PhD). His work is international and combines a mix of energy law, policy and economics. He has published over 120 publications of different types and his research has been cited over 700 times in the last three years. Professor Heffron’s research all has a principal focus on achieving a just transition to a low-carbon economy.

Raphael was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland in 2018. His research and teaching has been recognised by the award of a Jean Monnet Professorship in Energy & Natural Resources Law (2016-2019) by the European Commission. His teaching has also been recognised in the UK by becoming a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy in 2018. In addition, Raphael is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.

Raphael’s research has involved funding from UK national research councils (the ESRC and the EPSRC), the EU and currently through the European Commission Jean Monnet Professorship 2016-2019. He is a Research Associate at the national UK Energy Research Centre. He has given expert advice to the EU, UN, World Bank, and various international thinktanks. Raphael is on the Editorial Board of the International Energy Law Review, the Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review and is Consulting Editor of the Halsbury’s Laws of England volumes on Energy Law. Raphael is also co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook for International Energy Law.

Raphael is currently the Co-Chair of the UK Energy Law and Policy Association; Visiting Professor in Energy Law at the International Hellenic University (Greece); an Associate Researcher at the Energy Policy Research Group at the University of Cambridge; and currently is a Visiting Professor at Paris-Dauphine University (Paris, France), Queen Mary University of London (UK); a Visiting Lecturer at the ESCP Business School (London and Paris); and a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Time: 8-9am (light breakfaast, registration from 7.45am)

Registration: Free, but essential

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