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School of Law

Professor Dr Rafael Leal-Arcas publishes his recent research in top law journals

Professor Leal-Arcas's research focuses on law, climate change and trade.

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Professor Dr Rafael Leal-Arcas, Jean Monnet Chair in EU International Economic Law at Queen Mary University of London, publishes three articles on topical issues in top law journals.

The World Trade Organization and Carbon Market Clubs 

This article explores emission units as a linkage in climate clubs in the hope of making a remarkable difference in climate change mitigation. It analyzes emission units trading in the context of regional trade agreements as a novel, promising, and effective way to mitigate climate change. It then examines Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) as a potential and encouraging remedy for the development of climate clubs. Specifically, it explores the scope of application of Article XX and investigates to what extent it can be applied to climate concerns. It then provides an analysis of climate-club measures according to the jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization on GATT Article XX.

Electrifying the energy sector: The case of Slovakia and the Czech Republic

This article explores the current picture of Slovakia’s and the Czech Republic’s domestic energy market, the national reality concerning decentralization efforts as well as their suitability to achieve it. It assesses the current situation of new technologies, namely smart grids, electric mobility, demand response, and electricity storage technologies. Further, it looks at data protection concerns in the development of new technologies. The article then critically analyses the relevant novel policies in place and projected promising policies for the oncoming years in terms of encouraging regional cooperation, interconnection, consumer empowerment, decentralization, and the deployment of new technologies towards a more secure and “smarter grid”. The article concludes that Slovakia depends largely on its domestic production of nuclear energy and the import of primary energy sources to meet its primary demand. In such a position, the implementation of decentralized electricity generation becomes a priority. In terms of legal environment, Slovakia offers remarkable and suitable conditions to continue developing new technologies in the energy sector. Its regulatory framework presents a valuable basis − although not developed enough − to drive this paradigm shift. As for Czechia’s electricity sector, it is highly competitive, enjoys a relatively low energy dependence (compared to the average of EU countries), and its high level of grid interconnection contributes to energy security. However, in terms of smartening and decentralization, there is still room for policy improvement.

Of international trade, climate change, investment and a prosperous future

A transformative, integrated, and holistic approach to sustainability is necessary to reach a prosperous future for all. With growing inequality in the world, demographic change, rapid technological development, and 40% of the world’s population with no access to digital technology, access to digital technology for all and, ultimately, having a prosperous future is a must today. Doing so will give a voice to the voiceless. For that, governments, companies, and transnational institutions should invest as much as possible to make it happen and provide solutions that are rules-based, inclusive, innovative, disruptive, and simple. We the citizens should push for this human right to materialize. That way, everyone will benefit and no one will fall behind. Access to energy, mitigating climate change, and benefiting from international trade and investment all can be achieved thanks to technological advancement. These global challenges are complex, interconnected, multidimensional, interdependent, and multi-causal.