Perhaps the best way to advance strong sustainable energy ethics is to promote them at the level of international law. So far, international energy law has not been guided by sus-tainability ethics despite the fact that most international agreements since the 1992 Rio Summit aim for contributions to sustainable development. Nicholas Robinson makes the point, for example, "that the objectives of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change could not be achieved without building the sustainability policies adopted at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 into the energy laws of each nation."93 These sustainability policies have been developed through the UN Commission on Sustainable Development,94 the energy-related paragraph 8 of the WSSD Plan of Implementation, and the various activities of international agencies.95 The core of such sustainability policies, however, has yet to be discovered. If policies are not informed by ethical principles they are in danger of reinforcing business-as-usual.

An example of this is the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT)96 and its accompanying Energy Charter Protocol on Energy Efficiency and Related Environmental Aspects (Protocol).97 Article 19 (Environmental Aspects) of the ECT requires each contracting party, in pursuit of sustainable development and taking into account its obligations under those international agreements concerning the environment to which it is party... to strive to minimize in an economically efficient manner harmful environmental impacts occurring either within or outside the Area from all operations within the energy cycle in its area taking proper account of safety.

Such vagueness still allows for a priority of economic concerns over environmental concerns, and thus does not even meet the minimum standards for sustainable de-velopment.98 The Protocol could, therefore, have been expected to give some further guidance. Instead, the Protocol provides a menu of good practices that may be good enough for states with transitional economies,99 but merely reflect OECD practices. It

94 Including contributions from IUCN and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU); IUCN-

ICSU CSD-9 Dialogue paper (2000).

95 See Thomas W. Wilde, "The Role of Selected International Agencies in the Formation of International

Energy Law and Policy Towards Sustainable Development," in Bradbrook and Ottinger, supra note 4, at 171.

98 With this environmental provision it is hard to see how the ETC could have a role in reducing barriers to energy sustainability as Barry Barton (2003) claims ("Does Electricity Market Liberalization Contribute Energy to Energy Sustainability?," in Bradbrook and Ottinger, supra note 4, 217 at 218).

99 Craig Bamberger, Jan Linehan, and Thomas Wilde, "The Energy Charter in 2000," in Martha M. Roggenkamp (ed.), Energy Law in Europe, Oxford University Press, III.4, also available at

certainly does not add to the understanding of sustainable development and its importance for energy law and policy.100

Existing treaty law offers little ethical guidance for sustainable energy, but then, it cannot really be expected to. As has been assumed throughout this chapter, ethical guidance can only develop in a bottom up approach. If civil society leads, states will follow.

Most promising are efforts that formulate an international consensus and translate it to codes of conduct, guidelines, or similar documents of "soft international law."101 Soft law allows states to take an interest without having to commit. It makes a lot of sense, therefore, to promote a "statement of principles for a global consensus on sustainable energy production and consumption," as drafted by Adrian Bradbrook and Ralph Wahnschafft.102 The purpose of such a statement on sustainable energy principles is to reinforce established principles and develop new ones. This way existing international law, whether "hard" or "soft," can be taken a step further to the next level.

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