Carbon conundrum: the dichotomy between energy security and climate change




Ulasi, Ikenna

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This paper is a law thesis that is based on a combined theoretical framework of Green Legal Theory (GLT) and Theories of International Regimes (TIR). GLT has a broad conception of ‘law’. It is based on the argument that ‘laws’ exist at different levels and in different forms, and that ‘legal laws’ are themselves manifestations of regulatory dynamics that are embedded in institutions and processes; and cultural logics that generate and support those laws. TIR examines the negotiation, development, formation, and sustenance of international regimes. The paper is a critical analysis of, especially, the combined effects of capitalist laws and the liberal democratic system of state-based governance. This allows me to highlight the underlying factors/dynamics that are responsible for the continuing inability to address climate change because of the mandated pursuit of energy security (i.e. the regulatory imperative). The analysis revolves around four key global actors, which are the multinational corporations (MNCs), the state, civil society (Non-governmental Organizations), and global institutions. First, I discuss the growing economic and political powers of MNCs in a liberalized and deregulated system, and establish the need for a better regulatory system. Second, I criticize the territorial sovereignty principle and deconstruct the contemporary system of national governance, while highlighting the need to relax the Westphalian system for global constitutionalism. Third, I analyze two approaches to globalization, and make a case against ‘globalization from above’ while arguing for ‘globalization from below’. I also highlighted the crucial role non-governmental organizations have begun to play in global governance. Fourth, I make a critical analysis of inter-state relations in global institutions to show the underlying factors that have compromised the level of cooperation needed to address the conundrum. Finally, based on all of the issues that I analyze in the paper, I propose some foundational principles, and a specific strategy, that would help to propel the needed re-form in global governance, to help to restore its ability to address global problems



Energy Security, Green Legal Theory, Theories of International Regimes, Civil Society, Multinational Corporations, International Institutions, Capitalism, Global Governance, State, Climatic changes