Net Zero Law and Governance
Reaching net zero emissions, one of the most pressing societal priorities, presents a host of legal and governance challenges. Our work on net-zero compliant legal architectures identifies and develops interventions and structures that enable, accelerate, and sustain this transition.
In November 2020, we helped to launch Oxford Net Zero. The programme aims to address how we limit the cumulative net total of CO2 in the atmosphere in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, while acknowledging that more CO2 will be generated from energy, industry and land-use change than our goals allow. We support the goals of Oxford Net Zero by developing the legal and governance solutions necessary to effectively implement net zero policies. Lavanya Rajamani and Thom Wetzer lead the law and governance workstream of the project.
Projects, programmes, and special initiatives
What we’ve achieved
- We helped to launch Oxford Net Zero and lead its law and governance workstream.
- We contribute to the public debate on the legal and governance dimensions of net-zero policies, for example at a public seminar series hosted by the Oxford Martin School on "Climate justice & achieving net-zero”. [Please include a youtube video under this bullet point: https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/videos/climate-justice/]
- We helped launch the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance, the first global alliance of leading commercial law firms committed to the transition to net zero.
- We advise governments, multinational organisations, businesses, and financial sector participants on their net zero plans and the legal framework supporting and enabling them.
- Our team frequently provides commentary to the world’s leading media outlets, including for Reuters, the Financial Times, the Guardian, and New Scientist.
Recent research highlights
- Fankhauser, S., Smith, S.M., Allen, M. et al. The meaning of net zero and how to get it right. Nat. Clim. Chang.12, 15–21 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01245-w Lavanya Rajamani, Louise Jeffery, Niklas Höhne, Frederic Hans, Alyssa Glass, Gaurav Ganti & Andreas Geiges (2021) National ‘fair shares’ in reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the principled framework of international environmental law, Climate Policy,21:8, 983-1004, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2021.1970504
- Andreas Engert, Luca Enriques, Wolf-Georg Ringe and T Wetzer (eds), Business Law and the Transition to a Net Zero Economy (Beck / Somos / Hart 2021): https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/business-law-and-the-transition-to-a-net-zero-economy-9781509958962/
- Lavanya Rajamani, Professor of International Environmental Law at Oxford University
- Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment and Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford Net Zero initiative
If you have any questions about this workstream, would like to learn more, or want to get involved: please contact Dr Selam Kidane Abebe. For general questions about the programme please email Oxford Sustainable Law Programme information.