Time & Climate Change – Recent Presentation

Professor Duncan French, Head of School and Co-Director of the Lincoln Centre of Environmental Law and Justice, recently gave the keynote paper at the Tarragona International Environmental Law Colloquium workshop on “Longing for Justice in a Climate-Changed World”.

Professor French gave a paper on the relevance of the temporal dimension in climate change law. He argued that despite being critical on many aspects of international environmental law, lawyers often simply accepted the “actuality” of time, without subjecting it analysis and insight. He pointed to the use of time and time periods in the 1992 Climate Change Convention, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement.

He concluded that “we fail to recognise the elasticity and political nature of time. How we decide to describe climate change, how we assess it and measure its likely effects and by what duration we decide to tackle it – or adapt to its consequences – all contain temporal aspects, none of which are preordained. They are innately political questions…and we shouldn’t simply accept what legal texts say simply because they refer to matters that seem to be objective and beyond the law”.

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Lincoln Professor talking Sustainable Development in South Africa

Professor Duncan French, Head of Lincoln Law School and Professor of International Law, has recently attended the third meeting of the Rule of Law and Sustainable Development seminar organised by the Regional African Law and Human Security Programme (RALHUS).

Professor French presented a paper on contemporary case-law on sustainable development, including both international jurisprudence and domestic decisions. He reflected on the significant developments in the case-law, in the field of domestic courts holding States to account on the issue of climate change and, internationally, in developments on the legal principle of due diligence.

Nevertheless, Professor French cautioned against a wholesale endorsement of recent case-law, noting the recent decision of the International Court in the joined cases of Costa Rica v Nicaragua / Nicaragua v Costa Rica (2015) and creeping legal formalism. Thus he left the workshop with a question; are we seeing a maturity in the environmental jurisprudence or is there risk of sterility in the guise of meeting specified procedural steps?


Former Lincoln Student Success

Sarah blog

I am currently studying an LL.M in Energy and Climate Law at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. I have always had a passion for the environment and a desire to study and live abroad. The course, the University and the city itself are all amazing and I am so happy with my decision to study in Groningen. I have had the chance to meet students from all over the world, be taught by engaging professors and professionals in the energy field and settle into Dutch culture by becoming a fully-fledged cyclist! I cannot thank the University of Lincoln enough for aptly preparing me for post-graduate study and for encouraging and helping me to apply.

When speaking to other students in Groningen, I became aware of the importance of attaining an internship. I did some research into energy and climate related internships and decided to apply to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat. I received an email to state that I had been placed on the internal roster and then a few days later I was offered an internship with Mitigation, Data and Analysis Department. The internship is based in Bonn, Germany and will last for three months over this summer. I am very excited to begin the internship, to gain hands on relevant and practical experience and see how the secretariat operates, especially in the wake of the newly agreed Paris Agreement.

Dr Nathan Cooper’s visit to The Gambia

Dr. Nathan Cooper visited The Gambia last week as part of a team of three researchers investigating the feasibility of using smart water pumps to improve access to water for people in remote villages.




Nathan interviewed village water committee members in order to better understand the existing socio-legal framework governing local water resources, and to begin to explore the potential implications for this framework of new smart pump technology. One village chief also gave permission for a water pump to be filmed using a motion sensor camera, that documents who uses the pump, when and for how long. This information will further inform the researchers’ understanding of the cultural context in which access to water operates.

Nathan and colleagues were also invited to meet the Honourable Mr. Gomez, the newly appointed Minister for Water, in Banjul. The potential of smart pump technology to help meet the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals was discussed at length, particularly in relation to Goal 6a and b and the inclusion of international partnerships and local communities. The Minister expressed his interest in developing ongoing dialogue with the researchers, and in following the success of the smart pump field trials, which will be completed in April.