KTT’s Energy & Environment Policy Centre 2021-2022 has selected two themes to guide our research throughout the year. The first semester will explore the compatibility of the private sector with environmental goals, and the second semester will examine the various levels of institutional accountability for climate change.
The first semester will focus on the question “Does our private sector align with a carbon neutral future?” According to Climate Action Network – Europe (CAN), 75% of global climate finance which is aimed at decreasing and mitigating the effect of emissions, as well as adapting to climate change, is accounted for by the private sector. On the other hand, reports by Charity CDP and The Guardian indicate that 100 companies, specifically fossil fuel producers, represent 71% of global greenhouse gas emissions. We will investigate whether our business world is compatible with our environmental goals, and what measures need to be introduced and enforced to prevent the disproportionate environmental damage caused by the private sector. Reports of considerable waste and misuse of natural resources affect industries from agriculture to fashion. We will specifically explore which incentives businesses require to move away from damaging and unethical farming practices, in favour of sustainable agriculture.
We will also investigate situations in which private sector interests are at odds with public policies. For example, when the existing legislation does not match corporate interest and the situation results in legal dispute between states and corporations. Moreover, we will analyse the meaning of “green finance” and examine which standards allow for efficient green investments, as well as the implications of stricter European regulation on green finance, including the EU taxonomy or the EU green bond standard. The increasing dislocation of businesses to evade the EU Emissions Trading System and the rise of carbon havens, caused by lack of enforcement and weak standards, raises questions regarding the strength of the legislation already in place.
The second semester’s theme is “Governance and environmental emergency: who takes accountability?”. The goal of the second semester is to study environmental accountability at various institutional levels, from the lens of local communities to international organisations. The challenges brought by the Covid-19 era call for a reflection on the role of government intervention and responsibility in environmental matters, beyond the role of private actors explored in the first semester. As reports of natural catastrophes, including floods, fires, or droughts regularly reach breaking news, we are forced to question what is being done by public institutions around the world to prevent climate disasters. Among other topics, we will analyse the efforts made by the European Parliament in addressing climate mitigation and adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa. We will also investigate which states have set a precedent in the introduction of carbon drawdown measures aimed at ecosystem restoration and how to apply these measures locally in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, in a context where the race for growth seems to contradict ecological standards, we will also examine the characteristics of a potential transition and the ensuing concerns brought by a greener economy – specifically, how to avoid mass unemployment as we move away from fossil fuel economies.
We look forward to sharing our findings with you and welcoming you to our events, and are also very happy to receive content submissions from all members of the King’s Think Tank.
Irene Perez Beltran
Director, Energy and Environment Policy Centre
Our Policy Centre:
Irene Perez Beltran
I am a third year International Relations student from Spain. My interests include the sustainability of food systems and the democratization and implementation of environmental policy. In my free time I love to hike, try new cuisines and do ceramics.
Lucas D’Alva Duchrow
Growing up in Tunisia and Brazil I’ve become interested in the role of developing/emerging economies in sustainable governance. As a second-year Geography student, I have been able to gain the context necessary to inform this discussion. With our team at the Energy & Environment PC, I believe we can push forward a narrative that emphasizes the importance of empathy and direct action taking on the political stage.
I am a third year International Relations student, particularly interested in Human Rights and Sustainable Development, and the link between these. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running and meeting new people from different backgrounds and cultures.
Our Working Group:
I am a MA student from Northern Ireland studying International Political Economy. My main areas of interest are I am a second-year student from Germany, pursuing a BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. I am particularly passionate about climate change and justice and possibilities as well as necessities to prevent a climate catastrophe. Furthermore, I am very interested in how to prioritise climate policies while not losing focus of the economic survival and wellbeing.
I am a Masters student from the South East of England studying Environment, Politics and Development. I’m interested in the practicality of a green transition, particularly through the lens of companies and policy makers.
I’m a third-year History and International Relations student from Italy. I love traveling and reading. I’m particularly interested in climate change and its impact on the environment. I’m looking forward to being part of the KTT community to bring about change.
I am a French postgraduate student pursuing a MSc in Climate Change: Environment, Science and Policy. My main research interests cover environmental economics and policy, climate-resilient pathways for developing and least developed countries as well as the multidisciplinary concept of well-being.