RESEARCH-POLICY NEXUS

Areas of Interest: Law and Society, Governance, Regulation, Business, Environment, Natural Resources and Energy

My research and policy contributions are interwoven. I carry out independent research as an academic but also help private and public policy actors with projects. I have prepared policy documents such as policy briefs, opinion papers, cabinet paper drafts, policy reports, incorporation documents and regulations for submission to or on behalf of governments, their officials and private organizations. The governments include Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada and Government of Alberta also in Canada, and the other organizations include American Chamber of Commerce Haiti, Artis Research and Risk Modelling in the US and Biofuel Development Farmers' Association in Nigeria.

I have also worked as an editor, editorial board member, reviewer or proofreader for numerous academic and professional journals and publications. The journals include Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (Elsevier), Energy Policy (Elsevier), Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments  (Elsevier), University of Ibadan Journal of Public & International Law (University of Ibadan Faculty of Law), Risk Governance and Control Journal (Virtus Interpress) and The Advocate: International Journal of the Law Students’ Society (Obafemi Awolowo University Faculty of law). Some of the other publications include a newsletter of the International Bar Association and the Nigerian Supreme Court Quarterly Law Report.

 

FORTHCOMING PUBLICATION(S)

 

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW IN AFRICA’S NON-RENEWABLE EXTRACTIVE SECTORS

Book: Environmental Law in Africa’s Non-renewable Extractive Sectors (Lexis Nexis 2019)

REFEREED PUBLICATIONS

PROMOTING FUNCTIONAL DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE IN THE NIGERIAN SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND SYSTEM: LESSONS FROM ALASKA AND NORWAY

Book: C Eboe-Osuji and E Emeseh, The Nigerian Yearbook of International Law 2017 317 (Springer 2018), with Dr DS Olawuyi

Nigeria established a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) system in 2011 to manage excess crude oil revenue, in the interest of current and future generations. Commentators have substantially addressed the issue of whether or not this system is constitutional, but have largely neglected the issue of whether or not the Nigerian SWF is capable, in its current design and implementation, to effectively achieve its overall fund-saving and sustainable development aims. Although it contains preambular recitals and superficial operational provisions, the Nigerian system fails to embed practical guidelines and risk governance safeguards that would ensure that present and future generations of Nigerians adequately benefit from proceeds of excess crude revenue. Based on the standards of functional distributive justice, this chapter examines why lack of adequate safeguards to ensure an equitable, accountable and transparent management of crude revenues may hamper the ultimate effectiveness of the Nigerian SWF.
Employing qualitative and comparative methods, this chapter evaluates the legal and policy design of Nigeria’s SWF system, comparing it with practices in Norway and Alaska. This chapter relies on the functional distributive justice theory, to argue for a reform of the legal and policy framework underpinning the Nigerian SWF to make it more equitable, accountable and transparent, if it is to achieve its ultimate aim of fostering the effective allocation of oil wealth across Nigeria.

REGULATING NATURAL RESOURCE FUNDS: ALASKA HERITAGE TRUST FUND, ALBERTA PERMANENT FUND, AND GOVERNMENT PENSION FUND OF NORWAY

Journal: 6(2) Global Journal of Comparative Law 138 (Brill 2017)

The paper is a comparative regulatory analysis of the Alaska Heritage Trust Fund, the Alberta Permanent Fund, and the Government Pension Fund of Norway, as developed country natural resource fund (NRF) models. Its objective is to examine how nrfs are regulated. To achieve this objective, it explores and compares the socio-political contexts and regulatory features of the three NRFs, drawing lessons along the way. Given the dearth of publications on the domestic as opposed to the transnational regulation of NRFs, it carries out an original review of primary and secondary policy sources, both legal and non-legal documents, along with a synthesis of representative bodies of literature. It finds that NRFs are mainly regulated by laws and institutional support, which constitute four key regulatory features: legal frameworks and objectives, ownership regimes, structure and functionality, and governance and operation. The conclusion is that how NRFs are regulated, based on these features, determines their outcomes.

ALBERTA, CANADA, ROYALTY REVIEW AND ITS LESSONS FOR RESOURCE ECONOMIES

Journal:  35(2) Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law 171 (Taylor & Francis 2017)

Alberta’s royalty debate has focused on rates, exhibiting a myopic approach to the royalty system. Addressing this, the paper qualitatively appraises the Alberta royalty review from a socio-legal standpoint. It claims that the review reveals the context and lessons that could displace the myopia of the royalty debate: this might lead to a holistic understanding of the economic interests of the government and the private sector in the royalty system, and the moderation of claims over royalties. The context revolves around a consideration of how resource development works, the nature of royalty and the changing landscape of the resource sector, and the lessons are on the nuances that should guide the royalty system, metrics that should apply in the calculation of royalties, broader implications of the royalty system, and backing up royalties in case of the unexpected. Overall, the paper presents broader lessons useful to resource economies.

HYBRID RENEWABLE ENERGY SUPPORT POLICY IN THE POWER SECTOR: THE CONTRACTS FOR DIFFERENCE AND CAPACITY MARKET CASE STUDY

Journal: 95Energy Policy 390 (Elsevier 2016)

The article employs qualitative methods in contextualizing and conceptualizing the hybrid renewable energy support policy. It claims that hybrid policies may combine distinct mechanisms to drive desirable objectives better than traditional policies. A policy cycle helps to frame the United Kingdom's Contracts for Difference and Capacity Market (CFD & CM) scheme as a case study. The CFD & CM policy emerged to address environmental and energy challenges through the deployment of renewable energy (RE) in a low-carbon economy, employing liberalization: Environmental protection is foremost in this scheme. The policy combines and improves on the elements of feed-in tariff (FIT) and quota obligation (QO), and strives to solve the problems of these traditional policies. It addresses regulatory uncertainty under FIT by employing private law mechanics to guarantee above-loss reward for low carbon generation, and addresses market uncertainty under QO by incentivizing the capacity to supply future low carbon energy based on projected demand, hence creating a predictable and stable market. It also accommodates other important commitments. Overall, the CFD & CM scheme is a hybrid policy that engages the energy market mainly for advancing the end goal of environmental protection. To thrive however, it needs to meet private sector interests substantially.

PEOPLES-BASED PERMANENT SOVEREIGNTY OVER NATURAL RESOURCES: TOWARD FUNCTIONAL DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE?

Journal: 16(4) Human Rights Review 343 (Springer 2015)

The international law principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources posits that governments bear the sovereign rights to manage natural resources on behalf of citizens. That citizens have rights over natural resources at all however detaches from governance realities showcasing citizen marginalization. This necessitates revisiting the issue of what rights citizens actually have over natural resources. Qualitatively investigating this issue reveals rights of citizens over natural resources now embedded in the doctrine of peoples-based permanent sovereignty over natural resources (PPSNR). However, this doctrine appears to be subject to international law limitations and might not be effective within domestic jurisdictions. Alternatively, PPSNR may be domestically driven by common ownership and environmental justice claims. These two drivers may be able to advance distributive justice rights of citizens to returns from natural resources exploitation within domestic jurisdictions. These rights could be actuated through rent distribution practices. This results in functional distributive justice.

GLOBAL CLUES FOR CHOOSING SUITABLE SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE POWER SECTOR

Journal: 6(1) Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review 25 (Lexxion 2015)

The article analyses schemes suitable for supporting the integration of renewable energy (RE) into power sectors within jurisdictions. Its thesis is that stable and predictable regulatory frameworks that enhance RE are prerequisite for successfully integrating RE into energy streams in the power sector. It employs qualitative methods, and relies on primary and secondary sources. It contributes to the literature by building on existing classifications of RE support systems, revealing clues for choosing mechanisms that offer the best potential for successfully integrating RE into countries’ energy streams. It reveals that production-based support mechanisms are better for supporting RE projects than investment-based support systems, and identifies the fixed and premium feed-in tariff models as tested reliable support mechanisms. It recommends that jurisdictions should adjust these models alongside energy efficiency to suit their peculiarities, and government interference with RE policy should be moderate, mainly focusing on setting predictable legal and investment conditions and providing incentives. It concludes that jurisdictions should give closer attention to the design of processes underpinning support mechanisms, rather than the choice of support mechanisms they eventually employ.

DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT IN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND THE CLIMATE REGIME: FROM “COMMON BUT DIFFERENTIATED RESPONSIBILITIES” TO “COMMON BUT DIFFERENTIAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND RESPECTIVE CAPABILITIES”

Journal: 5 University of Ibadan Journal of Public & International Law 1 (University of Ibadan Faculty of Law 2015), with Dr OA Orifowomo

Conducting a doctrinal analysis using historical and descriptive reporting, hermeneutics for the interpretation of texts, and literature synthesis for connecting relevant themes in representative bodies of literature, the article argues for the redefinition of differential treatment in international environmental law (IEL) and the climate regime. The principle of differential treatment underlies differential partnership. Under the principle, countries bear different levels of responsibility for environmental protection. While this supported the economic aspirations of developing countries ab-initio by giving them lower environmental protection responsibilities, its modification with the phrase “respective capabilities” seems to have varied its interpretation and, perhaps, application. This suggests that there might be disparities between its popular notions: common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC). CBDR operates under general IEL while CBDR-RC is peculiar to the climate regime. The variation across these notions might have embedded implications for environmental protection. Given this, there is the need to redefine differential treatment to ascertain these variations and their potential implications. In any case, since the climate regime appears to be the most popular in IEL, CBDR-RC currently tends to overshadow CBDR. This makes it an extremely important notion for environmental protection at the moment, and a point to start redefining differential treatment. In the light of the CBDR-RC politics in climate policy, the recent emergence of concepts such as “national circumstances” and “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” has crystalized into the idea of “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) in an effort to reflect domestic capacities while creating a balance in the commitments of parties. However, as attractive as this development might seem, it has the risk of making climate control commitments precarious. For example, how could Nigeria reasonably advance climate control in view of its current financial struggles, due to the oil crash, without some certainty about the amount of support it might receive, and how could one ensure that China makes sufficient commitments in view of its increasing capabilities? While there are currently no all-encompassing answers to these, a starting point could be that the new climate regime should set baselines for INDCs. In any case, all parties should bear responsibilities for mitigation. But then, since some might have insufficient capabilities to implement reasonable commitments, the new climate regime might also need to renew the sense of differential partnership, acknowledging differences with effect on responsibilities.

LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW IN NIGERIA: REFORM PROPOSITION

Journal: 1 Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti Law Journal 320 (Afe Babalola University College of Law 2013), with Dr. BR Akinbola

The article examines remedies in environmental law cases in Nigeria, in the light of problems faced by aggrieved litigants. It posits that despite the fact that there is a plethora of remedies and reliefs which a party can obtain as a result of a successful law suit, the impact of such available remedies are not adequate. The article examines remedies under the constitution, statutes and common law. The article states that Environmental litigation is a common vehicle for driving these remedies in order to transform the remedies into reliefs. Environmental litigation can take various forms which include civil actions based on tort, contract or property law, criminal prosecutions, public interest litigation or enforcement of fundamental human rights. The paper identifies reliefs within the enforcement powers of the courts which may include injunctive relief, restitution and remediation orders, continuous mandamus, damages, cost and fees, and criminal penalties. The paper also examines administrative remedies like direct government intervention, international intervention, environmental impact assessment and licensing. In addition, the article posits that other legal and administrative avenues need to be explored for optimal impact towards environmental sustainability and adequacy of remedies under the Nigerian legal system. At the legal angle, the article recommends that the principles of access to justice under Principle 10 of Rio Declaration should be incorporated into environmental law in Nigeria. It also recommends that rules on locus standi, limitation of action and pre-action notice should be relaxed in environmental cases. Administrative recommendations made in the article include establishment of a specialized environmental court, greater use of alternative dispute resolution methods, provision of effective supplementary complaint systems and the Use of Supplemental Environmental Projects.

 

NON-REFEREED PUBLICATIONS

YOUNG LAWYERS’ CAREER PROSPECTS: VIEWS ON CANADIAN ENERGY LAW PRACTICE

Newsletter: 2 Careers Bulletin: Newsletter of the International Bar Association Section on Public and Professional Interest 11 (International Bar Association 2017)

HOME STATE INTERESTS IN THE REGULATION OF SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND

Newsletter: Fall Issue International Legal Research Informer 7 (American Society of International Law 2016)

FROM RISK ANALYSIS TO RISK GOVERNANCE: THE CASE STUDY OF THE EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE

Conference Proceedings: Jakubiec, BAE & Gehrels, H, Eds, Emerging Scholars: Illuminating Graduate Research 47 (University of Prince Edward Island 2015).

 

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© Temitope Tunbi Onifade 2019