Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

FWO-onderzoeksproject voor Geert Van Calster: ‘De coherente reglementering van de energie- en milieusector in de Europese Unie – met gebruik van schaliegas als casus’

Internationaal en Europees Recht

Geert Van Calster’s research project has been approved by the FWO.

To adapt to newly emerging environmental and energy challenges, European energy and environmental law has undergone many revisions and changes throughout the past 30 years. The successful regulation of all environmental aspects of human activities, and the interaction between environmental and energy priorities, has proven to be challenging. The inclusion of the new title XXI on energy in the Lisbon Treaty changed the Union’s competences and the legal basis to act in this regard. It remains to be seen whether this new constitutional setup is better suited to combine energy supply security on the one hand and environmental protection concerns on the other.

One emerging subject in both such areas of law, which is testimony to this challenge, is the extraction of unconventional gas resources, such as shale gas. Shale is a possible response to both increasing energy demand in the European Union and dependence on gas imports from third countries such as Russia. The large scale and manipulative nature of hydraulic fracturing techniques elicits a mixed response due to a large realm of unknowns, not only about externalities but also concerning the ability of the technology to deliver. Characterised by uncertainties and promises to address climate change, shale gas extraction raises several technical, ethical and legal issues.

The research project will (a) test the new constitutional setup on the basis of this challenging case study, (b) assess the Union’s quest for a common energy policy in the absence of a Treaty provision and (c) further analyse emerging legal issues and will suggest specific ways forward.

Drawing from Prof. Van Calster’s extensive expertise in energy and environmental law, combined with his background in the regulation of new technologies, the study will develop a framework for the regulation of not only shale gas extraction but also a pragmatic approach regarding the interplay between environmental and energy related issues. Hence, the project will help take forward the issue of integration of new technologies and coherent and integrated regulation thereof.

via Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.