Energy & Environment

KTT’s Energy & Environment Policy Centre 2020-2021 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. We are also very happy to receive content submissions at irina.tabacaru@kcl.ac.uk

Irina Tabacaru

Director, Energy and Environment Policy Centre 

Our Policy Centre:

Irina Tabacaru

Director

I am a third year BSc Political Economy student and am Romanian from France. I am very motivated and thrilled to have joined the team, specifically to research the fields of climate change policy and environmental economics.

Email: policycentre@kingsthinktank.org

Ambre Barria

Editor

I am a third year International Development BA French student, passionate about the economics and geopolitics of the energy transition. I strive to promote awareness of current and future issues our generation will face

 Rebecca Flowers

Researcher

I am a half Danish half British fourth year Business Management and Spanish student at KCL. I am very interested in the interplay between environmental policy and the private sector and how to mitigate climate change while acknowledging the completive nature of business.

Ximena Bénard-Tertrais

Liaison

I am a French and Colombian third-year student pursuing a BSc of Political Economy. My main area of interest is environmental governance, in particular how we can use policymaking to put models of sustainable development at the center of international cooperation.

Our Working Group:

Patrick Geddis

I am a MA student from Northern Ireland studying International Political Economy. My main areas of interest are decarbonisation, the effects of climate breakdown on the Global South and the development of green technologies and systems.

Andrew King

I am a third year BSc Physics with Theoretical Physics student from the UK. I am greatly interested in the global transition to renewable energy, the impacts of the climate crisis on the Global South, and international policy and green deals.

Nina Hanna

I’m a final year Comparative Literature student who was born and raised in London! I’m excited to join the team and motivated to start research on the wide variety of issues that relate to energy and environment, and hope to contribute to the wider campaign for climate justice.

Irene Perez Beltran

I am a 2nd year International Relations student from Spain. My main interests are the transition to renewable energy and the development of sustainable cities, and how can both be achieved in an economically viable manner.