Journal article

Governing the Energy Transition: The Role of Corporate Law Tools

Jacqueline Peel, Anita Foerster, Brett McDonnell, Hari Osofsky

ENVIRONMENTAL AND PLANNING LAW JOURNAL | Thomson Reuters | Published : 2019

Abstract

Conventionally the private sector has been considered a barrier to effective energy transition governance. However, in the wake of the 2015 Paris Agreement, a range of international initiatives have emerged that focus on enhancing the positive role of the private sector in energy transition governance. These developments reinforce a gradual international shift in the business community to view climate change in financial risk terms. Climate change seen as a matter of financial risk for corporations, and for the large institutional investors who invest in them, has the potential to engage corporate law tools, such as requirements for risk disclosure, shareholder actions and the fiduciary duti..

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Funding Acknowledgements

Jacqueline Peel: Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne; Associate Director, Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law. Anita Foerster: Senior Research Associate, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne. Brett McDonnell: Senior Lecturer, Monash University Business School. Hari M Osofsky: Professor, Dorsey and Whitney Chair, University of Minnesota Law School; Director, Institute for Law and Economics, University of Minnesota Law School. This research received funding support from the Australian Research Council pursuant to a Discovery Project grant on "Devising a Legal Blueprint for Corporate Energy Transition" (Peel, Osofsky and McDonnell, 2016-2019). The article draws on analysis in Hari M Osofsky et al, "Energy Reinvestment" (2019) 94 Indiana Law Journal 635. This article was originally presented at the Energy Transitions workshop convened by the University of New South Wales on 5-6 February 2019. The authors are grateful for feedback and comments provided by convenors and participants of the workshop, and particularly to Louis Kotze who acted as commentator for the article. The authors also appreciate research assistance from Ms Julia Korolkova in compiling data on shareholder climate resolutions in Australia.