“When we're addressing something as complex as climate change, you can't have a one size fits all approach.”
Oxford Net Zero is an interdisciplinary research initiative based at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (SSEE). It is embedded within the ecosystem of research on climate neutrality. Their research fellows, recruited from partner institutions from around the world, are working to accelerate the transition to a net zero future.
In this series of conversations, you’ll hear about the work these experts are focused on and how their research can be applied to business. You’ll also get to hear their personal stories and achievements you wouldn’t otherwise read in their bio, where they get their inspiration and even what kind of music is on their playlist! Tune in to this series if you’re looking to be inspired, excited and hopeful about the important research underway at Oxford in creating a net zero pathway for the world.
Interviewee: Prof Lavanya Rajamani, Professor of International Environmental Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford.
Interviewer: Charmian Love, Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
Key takeaways from the conversation
Where does Lavanya go as a source of energy and inspiration?
Lavanya is passionate about nature and environmental issues. This started early for her - as a child, she volunteered at animal welfare and animal shelters and turned vegetarian when she was 16.
She believes there are those who will go out and march on the streets and those who bring their skills to bear in trying to address this issue - which is what she is doing with her expertise in law.
What big questions is Lavanya exploring?
Lavanya’s energy is directed at looking at ways in which public international law can be used to address climate change - clarifying relationships between states and how states can come together through crafting treaties and reaching agreements to address climate change.
One big question that Lavanya is looking at is the issue of equity and fairness and how they can be expressed in international agreements. For instance, through provisions that provide different kinds of assistance to different groups of states and that recognise the need to be fair to parties. States will have different needs, have different abilities, and also have contributed differently to the problem.
How would Lavanya like to see businesses engage in climate?
Lavanya believes businesses need to be engaged in climate for two reasons. Firstly, rules are being crafted around how markets will function. For example, how they account for greenhouse gas emissions, and these rules will obviously have an impact on business and industry. But it isn’t just about following the rule. Businesses are producing a lot of the emissions that we're trying to curtail and limit, so are critical to fulfilling the obligations.
What advice does Lavanya have for students?
Bring your passion, commitment and enthusiasm.
Bring your faith that we can resolve this issue.
Convince your families and friends and encourage them to convince others.
Take courses on these topics.
Go out there and find some barristers or lawyers who can help you file cases.
Interested in learning more about Climate Net Zero? Check out the available resources from Oxford Net Zero.