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The Energy-Water-Food Nexus & Climate Law and Governance

23 Jun
The Energy-Water-Food Nexus & Climate Law and Governance
Part of Climate Law and Governance: The Reading Group

Patterns of food, energy and water consumption have brought the climate crisis to where it is today. It is likely that in the coming decades, the world’s population will face increasingly immense challenges due to water, food and energy insecurity and it will become ever more vital to understand the intimate connections between these resources. It may well be argued that it is much easier to connect these dots now, rather than later. Nonetheless, law and governance mechanisms still maintain a siloed approach by regulating different sectors in isolation.


The water-food-energy nexus has emerged as a useful concept to understand the complexity and interrelatedness of our global resource systems. The nexus approach reconceptualises water, food and energy security by emphasising connectivity. It illustrates that intensive usage of a certain resource eventually triggers chronic shortages of other resources. There are also potential interactions between the nexus approach, the concept of planetary boundaries and the design of the Sustainable Development Goals that can be usefully explored to address global climate and ecological challenges.


The CLG reading group session, organised in collaboration with King’s College London’s PLuS alliance partner UNSW Law, will focus on the water-food-energy nexus. The overall aim is to understand the nexus approach and how it can contribute to research on climate law and governance.


Discussion Questions:


1- How do you think the Nexus approach relates to your own research?

2- Do you think the Nexus approach can bring new insights into the global climate action and Climate law and governance in general?

3- Based on the introductory readings suggested below, to which other areas of international environmental law do you think the Nexus approach can contribute?





1- Rhett Larson, Cameron Holley, Diana Bowman, ‘The Energy/Water/Food Nexus-An Introduction’ (2018) 59 Jurimetrics J. (available here)

2- Damilola Olawuyi, ‘Sustainable development and the water-energy-food nexus: Legal challenges and emerging solutions’ (2020) 103 Environmental Science and Policy 1. (available here)

3- Simon Meisch, Matthias Leese, ‘Securitising Sustainability? Questioning the 'Water, Energy and Food-Security Nexus' ’ (2015) 8 Water Alternatives. (available here)



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