Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)
CET Virtual Lunch Seminar

Climate Impact Assessment and the Energy Transition: Managing the Supply Side of Fossil Fuels

CET and the research group for natural resource law, environmental law and development law are excited to announce this CET Virtual Lunch Seminar with Daria Shapovalova, lecturer in energy law and the co-director of the Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Law.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CET Lunch seminars are currently online.

Main content

The Paris Agreement aims to ‘hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels’ and further aspires to limit it to 1.5°C. Yet, global regulatory efforts on climate change are centred on greenhouse gas emissions, and consequently fossil fuel consumption, thus focusing on demand while disregarding the supply side. The geographic origin of the burning of fossil fuels is irrelevant for its effects on global warming. However, the IPCC confirms that the estimate of the total fossil fuel reserves and resources contains sufficient carbon to yield, if released, radiative forcing above that required to limit global mean temperature change to less than 2°C. Thus, to achieve the global climate goals, some resources would need to stay in the ground, under the assumption that if produced, they would inevitably be used. Including climate considerations into the well-established mechanism of environmental impact assessment is a relatively new development, and while the regulators’ approach tends to only include the direct climate effects of exploration and production activities into the scope of the assessment, the emerging judicial interpretation calls for a more comprehensive approach, including emissions from the subsequent use of the produced fossil fuels. This paper analyses the requirements of ‘climate impact assessment’ for fossil fuel projects across several jurisdictions and reviews the relevant judicial practice. It argues that both direct and indirect climate effects of fossil fuels development projects should be considered at the environmental impact assessment stage to achieve the goals set out by the Paris Agreement and national climate legislation.

About the speaker

Daria is a lecturer in energy law and the co-director of the Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Law. Daria' main research interests are in energy, environmental law, human rights and Arctic governance. Her current research focuses on the climate change and energy law, indigenous rights, and the effectiveness of international law. Daria holds an LLB (National Law Academy of Ukraine, 2012), an LLM in Public International Law (University of Groningen, 2013), and a PhD in law (University of Aberdeen, 2017). She gained professional experience in energy consultancy and legal practice.