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School of Law

Professor Rafael Leal-Arcas publishes new research on sustainability

His research was published in Emory International Law Review and Compliance and Environmental Law.

Pylons in a field of yellow flowers

Compliance to promote sustainability

Professor Dr Rafael Leal-Arcas, Jean Monnet Chair in EU International Economic Law at Queen Mary University of London, has published the findings of his reach on compliance and sustainability as R. Leal-Arcas, “Compliance to promote sustainability,” in T. Trennepohl and N. Trennepohl (eds.), Compliance and Environmental Law, Thomson Reuters, pp. 453-464, 2020 (published in Portuguese).


This chapter provides a fresh and transformative understanding of the international trading system for the promotion of a sustainable and prosperous future. Understanding the trading system as an enabler of social justice, this article provides specific architectures for the creation of a climate club linked to the international trade regime as an effective way to mitigate climate change and have a prosperous future for all.

International trade has been responsible for much environmental harm. More trade implies more energy consumption and therefore more pollution. Now everyone assumes that trade damages the environment. But it does not have to be that way: international trade can be a very powerful tool for environmental protection.

Innovative finance for sustainable energy

Professor Leal-Arcas has also published the findings of his reach as follows: R. Leal-Arcas, G. Thanos, M. Kanakakis, and G. Fearnley “Regulation and innovative finance for sustainable energy,” Emory International Law Review, Vol. 34, Issue 2, pp. 435-532, 2020.


Achieving greater renewable energy usage, energy efficiency, and energy security are practically universal goals today. Key emerging trends to this effect include the promotion of electric vehicles, deployment of smart grids and smart meters, as well as technology and regulation to encourage storage and demand response mechanisms. Overall, there is a move towards greater flexibility, with consumers having more control over their electricity usage and costs. This Article introduces business models to illustrate the roles of multiple actors in a decentralized smart grid system. It identifies interactions between the various players, the tools they will manage, the added value in using the functionalities of such a system, and ways to maximize profits for those involved. The Article also examines the United Kingdom (UK) as a case study. It explores where the UK stands in terms of introducing tools and technologies for decentralization, including electric vehicles, smart grids, and demand response mechanisms. It also examines regulation in the UK to assess how conducive it is for decentralized energy. In addition, the Article identifies specific concerns related to data protection stemming from smart metering and analyses relevant regulation in this regard.

This research outcome is part of his WiseGRID grant. Professor Dr Leal-Arcas, Jean Monnet Chair in EU International Economic Law at Queen Mary University of London, was the Principal Investigator of the WiseGRID project (number 731205) for the whole duration of the project (i.e., 42 months), funded by EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

To conduct this research, the financial help from a European Union (EU) grant is gratefully acknowledged: the WiseGRID project (number 731205), funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Professor Dr Rafael Leal-Arcas is the recipient of this major research grant.



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