A Just Energy Transition Through the Lens of Third World Approaches to International Law

Love Alfred (Corresponding / Lead Author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The transition to green energy requires an all-hands-on-deck approach because of the effects of climate change on all. However, the nature and type of commitment or responsibilities required towards the transition are to be differentiated due to ‘countries’ different socioeconomic challenges and starting positions. Embedded in the common but differentiated principle is the concept of a just transition which speaks to considering a ‘context’s development challenges in the transition planning, strategies and processes. This is expressed throughout the Paris Agreement (PA) in the form of states’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the adaptation and mitigation provisions of the PA. Due to the differences in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by states, the differentiated layers of development of states, and the vulnerability of each state to climate change, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has recognised countries’ “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” (CBDR-RC) towards the transition goal. (Paww P et al., 2019). Despite these provisions, this paper, using the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), shows how the current energy transition (ET) agenda is promoted without an adequate third-world impact and how this fits into a historical pattern of socioeconomic inequality and powerlessness which, in turn, tends to forecast a trend of what the future would look like for developing countries. Based on this background, the paper uses the Nigerian social context to exemplify what a just transition would mean for a developing context, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The article is divided into three parts; the first part unpacks the energy transition. The second part addresses the legal framework for renewable energy, while the third part problematises energy transition processes using the TWAIL lens. The paper concludes with recommendations for a just transition that balances the socioeconomic development of developing contexts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1
    Number of pages37
    JournalThe Opole Studies in Administration and Law
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 16 Jan 2024


    • Sustainable Energy Transition
    • Energy Justice
    • Common but differentiated responsibilities
    • third world approaches to international law
    • Contexts


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