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The Energy Transition in a Health-Constrained World
University of Houston Law Center, the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Center, and the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law
Call for Papers/Abstracts

Virtual Symposium: The Energy Transition in a Health-Constrained World

Sponsored by the University of Houston Law Center, the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Center, and the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law.

Date: May 25, 2021

Context: In early 2020, the world literally shut down when, amidst deep uncertainty, the Covid pandemic spread, cases immediately increased, and mortality rates were out of control in some countries. In such a health-constrained world, all major achievements in the process of completion would have to be put on hold. This situation fully illustrated the profound interconnectedness of the world, from the health system to the energy system. Yet, a year before, the energy sector, which is currently in transition, offered good prospects. Some scenarios envisaged a decline in energy demand from 2040 onwards, although the world economy was likely to continue to grow at an average rate of 3.4 percent per year. In this scenario, the demand for gas, which is currently increasing, was expected to decline around 2030, while the growth of renewable energy was expected to lead to a consequent decline in the share of coal and oil in world consumption. Will such a forecast be confirmed following the disruption caused by Covid-19?

The year 2020 marked the beginning of the UN Decade of Action to achieve sustainable development goals by 2030, goals that have the ambition of ensuring access to energy for all, effective response to climate change, and building resilience against major crises. However, the launch of this decade has been profoundly hindered by the disruptive effect of Covid-19. This has severely paralyzed government initiatives, leaving them powerless in the face of a public health emergency that has turned into a global health crisis, arguably the major preoccupation of our time. Some 71 million people are living in extreme poverty; more than half of the world's working population, or 1.6 billion people; not to mention the increased vulnerability of more than one billion people. Today, therefore, there is an imperative need for economic recovery. Will this recovery be green, inclusive, and decisive in supporting or hindering the ongoing transition?

Many countries have put in place ambitious or relatively ambitious energy policies, many private actors have recently reinforced their commitments to low-carbon energy sources, many jurisdictions—in the context of climate litigation—have reminded States of the need to comply with their international commitments or to put in place—in specific cases—energy policies or strategies that integrate resilience to climate change.

Issues for discussion: What is the state of the energy transition currently in the context of public health emergency? What is the energy landscape today in Covid times, particularly in terms of infrastructure, supply chain, investments? What is the state of climate commitments five years after the Paris Agreement? What is the state of renewable energy today? What are the opportunities for all relevant players today? What are the trends in terms of economic recovery and subsidies? What role will the climate dispute play for an effective transition? How will Green Bonds support the transition process? What is the current state of progress in access to energy (SDG 7)? What best practices are developing in the private sector? What are the technological options and innovations that accompany the available solutions? What economic and employment opportunities are currently emerging? What are the opportunities for offshore methane hydrates or green hydrogen? Etc.

All these questions are of interest to us in the framework of our panels.

Participation: We invite academics, practitioners, NGOs, and various experts working in the energy and climate change sector, including law, public policy, economics, etc., to participate in our panels.

Format: The symposium will be held virtually on 25 May 2021.

We welcome abstracts from 10 experts from international/regional organizations, businesses, and NGOs. If you wish to apply, please send an email to Aubin Nzaou anzaouko@central.uh.edu by indicating a working title, with a short bio of 60 words and an abstract of at least 250 words.

Important date:

  • March, 31, 2021 — submission date.
  • April, 5, 2021 — selection and feedback.
Join the University of Houston experts in energy law and policy, climate governance, and public policy to discuss all of those issues.