OxBHR Hybrid Event: COP28: Bitter Aftertaste and the Road Ahead

Event date
7 February 2024
Event time
12:30 - 13:45
Oxford week
HT 4
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights - Gilly Leventis Meeting Room

Notes & Changes

This event will be hybrid, taking place in-person in the Gilly Leventis Meeting Room, Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and online via Zoom. Please register through the link provided above for online attendance. For in-person attendees, light lunch will be provided. 



The Russian invasion of Ukraine has underscored both the interdependency yet fragility of the current global energy system centered on oil, gas, and coal. This presentation argues that the moral dimensions of the resulting humanitarian crisis compel re-examining the timeframe for phasing out fossil fuels as part of the urgent climate response.

Specifically, it will assess the human rights implications of delayed decarbonization commitments that prolong substantial fossil fuel use for decades more despite worsening climate impacts that disproportionately affect vulnerable communities. International legal perspectives will help demonstrate how prolonged fossil fuel dependence perpetuates foreseeable, avoidable harms to human life and livelihoods.

Russia's stranglehold on European gas supplies amid its unprovoked aggression highlights the vulnerability of carbon-intensive energy systems. Yet the climate emergency compounds these geopolitical risks, as intensifying droughts, floods, storms and other extremes undermine societies globally. This moral failure to transition from oil, gas and coal constitutes a breach of ethics and potential legal obligations around preventing loss of life.

Ultimately, this presentation calls for ambitious yet equitable policy pathways that rapidly shift energy systems to renewable sources in line with the Paris Agreement while providing social safeguards to vulnerable communities on the climate frontlines. The analysis concludes by examining litigation and shareholder accountability mechanisms that might spur accelerated energy transition action from fossil fuel companies and governments.


Dr Ievgeniia Kopytsia is a visiting academic at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, a British Academy Award holder, an MSCA4Ukraine fellow and an Associate Professor at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Kharkiv, Ukraine. 

Drawing from expertise in various dimensions of environmental, climate and energy law from international, European, and Ukrainian perspectives, her current research focuses on shaping resilient climate law in turbulent times and how to ensure net zero transition amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

As an accomplished author and co-author, Ievgeniia has contributed to textbooks, study guides, and over 20 articles delving into legal aspects related to environmental protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as energy law and policy, within the frameworks of Ukrainian, EU, and international law.

Among the recent publications is the working Paper on Ukraine’s Post-War Green Economic Recovery, published by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment – The Green Phoenix Framework: Climate-Positive Plan for Economic Recovery in Ukraine (2023).

Throughout her career, she has taught at Ukrainian and EU universities, encompassing courses ‘Environmental Law of Ukraine’, ‘International and EU Environmental Law’, and ‘Normative Investigations into Climate Change’. Her expertise has extended to advising policymakers and bussinesses as well and speaking engagements at various international conferences, seminars, workshops, and summer schools on climate mitigation and adaptation, sustainable development, green recovery, and green transition.



About Oxford Business and Human Rights Network & Discussion Group

The Oxford Business and Human Rights Network (OxBHR) aims to provide a forum for critical and interdisciplinary debate on issues of business and human rights. We seek to bring together academics, civil society, businesses, and practitioners for the discussion of corporate accountability for human rights violations. We have organised events that have inter alia addressed important debates on corporate complicity in human rights violations; access to remedy for victims of business-related abuses; developments and challenges in the implementation of corporate respect for human rights; regulatory developments around the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the development of a binding treaty; emerging trend towards human rights due diligence; multi-stakeholder initiatives, disclosure and reporting mechanisms; and developments in (strategic) litigation against corporate (human rights) abuse. We aim to welcome theoretical, doctrinal, empirical, and policy-oriented contributions from all relevant disciplines, covering business and human rights issues across the world and industries. The OxBHR organises public events as well as invite-only meetings to discuss work in progress, draft papers, and grant proposals.

Ayako Hatano is the convenor of the Oxford Business and Human Rights Network & Discussion Group in the 2023/24 academic year. Professor Kate O’Regan is the academic supervisor of the OxBHR.

Please sign up to our mailing list to stay updated about our events and meetings by sending a blank e-mail to oxbhr-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk. If you would like to be considered for presentation or have any ideas for collaboration, please get in touch with the co-convenors

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If you want to learn more about the OxBHR, please listen to Danilo Garrido and Isabel Bernhard presenting the OxBHR at the 2020 online Human Rights Fair.

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Environmental Law