UEF Law School: Researcher and pioneer of Energy and Environmental Law

UEF Law School: Researcher and pioneer of Energy and Environmental Law
Husen Tura and Rosemary Mwanza

“From my research so far, it has become quite clear that most environmental problems have local origins, but their impacts are felt both locally and globally.” – Rosemary Mwanza, doctoral student and researcher, UEF Law School

Established in 1998, the Law School at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) is revered for its elite and innovative legal education. As part of an institution that ranks among the world’s top young universities, UEF Law is the ideal place to extend your journey into environmental and energy law.

If you hope to become a driver of change on key policy and legal aspects relating to global, regional and local environmental issues, look no further than the Centre for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL) at UEF Law. Facing threats posed to the future of Earth and its natural resources – from forests and food, to water, energy, minerals and beyond – this cutting-edge facility grants ambitious research students the power to become globally-impactful agents of change.

“You have to read. [You must show] commitment to read, to understand and then to write,” says Husen Tura, doctoral student, researcher and teacher of International Law at UEF.

“A researcher has to understand first the topic, and then link it to the problem that he or she tries to solve,” Tura adds. “Without understanding international law, regional or good practices, you can’t explain problems, for example, in Kenya, Ethiopia or Finland. So nowadays, globalisation is everywhere. Laws are transplanted from one legal system to another, and lawmakers nowadays – especially in poor or developing countries – just [use] the experience of other countries [to draft new legislation].”

The Law School itself is known for making a lasting environmental impact through pioneering research. The CEEL is the perfect example of this, hosting more than 20 researchers and four professors who promote discussion, debate and knowledge around some of the world’s most pressing issues.

That’s why UEF Law takes a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to legal education. For students to reap the best possible benefits of postdoctoral education, they need a firm awareness of the interwoven elements of law. Inline with this, UEF Law gives students the chance to delve into guided research opportunities at every possible stage.

In terms of climate change issues, research conducted at UEF is pushing for positive results. While the crisis is generally perceived as something we should address internationally, the global community does not necessarily possess the means to act effectively enough. As Rosemary Mwanza, fellow UEF doctoral student, researcher and teacher of Environmental Law, illustrates in her own research project; the state does in fact possess the means to create and successfully enforce legislation.

“Increasingly, people are looking to the state to say ‘the state has to act’, and is perhaps the best-suited actor in response to these problems, regardless of whether they have only local…or global ramifications,” Rosemary explains.

“[This is because] the state has apparatus; we can look to the state and find there is an executive, there is a legislator and there is a judiciary, and the same institutions cannot be found replicated neatly at the global governance, or global legal order,” she adds. “So those are the reasons [it’s important] to focus on what the local legal framework can do.”

Rosemary Mwanza and Husen Tura

Intertwined with environmental law, Energy Law is another field in which UEF excels. With current research projects investigating gas markets in both Africa and Europe, on top of rising issues in global natural gas sectors, biofuels; regulation of offshore petroleum activities, petroleum regulation and renewable energy in Africa, plus the regulation of shale gas in Europe and a general study on EU energy law and policy. Projects include:

  • EL-TRAN, Moving to a resource-efficient and climate-neutral electricity system (Academy of Finland, 2015-2021) – a consortium that strives to resolve policy issues that affect our transition to a sustainable electricity system. Here, UEF delves into policy actors, their interests and cognitive frames, trends and structures that impact Finland’s electricity, looking at the prospect of optimising the system to realise the actors’ interests.
  • Impact of shale gas in EU law and policy, (Academy of Finland, 2014-2018) – serving to bolster awareness of the implications surrounding unconventional gas deployment for policy formulation, institutions and implementation in natural gas strategies across the EU.
  • Finnish cultural research grant for PhD research on the role of energy law and institutions in transitional energy markets – Dr Tade Oyewunmi has been awarded a PhD research grant by the Finnish Cultural Foundation through the Säätiöiden Post Doc Pooli. The project will analyse the costs and advantages of establishing more renewable energy sources (RES) like solar and wind in energy, which traditionally rely on hydrocarbons – especially natural gas; known to be the most efficient and environmentally-friendly of fossil fuels.

“The UEF Law School conducts high quality research in all represented disciplines,” the faculty website notes. “The Law School has a strong tradition of multidisciplinary research and wide cooperation with other fields of science. Research is continuously developed in order to create an even stronger national and international profile as a research unit.”

Above all else, this school claims, ‘interdisciplinarity is not something we do, it’s who we are’. UEF Law grants student access to boundary-breaking research, shaping the next best influential industry leaders.

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