The zonal entitlements and functional rights and obligations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) govern access to offshore energy resources and transit of energy resources via international shipping. Ongoing technological developments are deepening the nexus between the oceans and energy, placing increased pressure on the law of the sea in the management of overlapping activities and the resolution of disputes. These developments include: increasing energy-related pollution, in the forms of oil pollution, inadequate disposal or abandonment of offshore platforms and greenhouse gases from international shipping; the deployment of marine renewable energy installations; the discovery of previously unknown resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone, continental shelf and Area; and efforts to exploit the energy resources of the Arctic. In addition, energy considerations constitute a significant feature of ongoing disputes over maritime territory, such as in the Eastern Mediterranean. UNCLOS offers a robust frame for regulating these novel conditions. The European Union has an important role to play as a policy innovator and leading contributor to the development of international oceans law.
Rafael Leal-Arcas and Stephen Minas
The aim of this chapter is to map out the governance of renewable energy and argues that effective renewable energy governance at the international level has become a major challenge of public international law. The chapter first analyzes renewable energy governance in the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It then examines the various international energy bodies that deal with the governance of renewables and deals with renewables in specific sectors of international/supranational law and policy, namely development, the G7/G20, multilateral trade, and lastly, the European Union as an example of the most committed region in the world to renewable energy. It concludes with a number of questions for further legal research resulting from the broad array of activity concerning renewables in international law and international organizations.