Laura Mai, King's College London

Laura’s doctoral research explores what the growing recognition of sub-national and non-state actors, both within and outside the UN climate regime, means for our understanding of the nature and role of law in global climate governance.

The project is premised on the observation that since the lead-up to the 2015 Paris Agreement, sub-national and non-state actors have joined national governments, in their own right, as key actors who shape the global response to climate change. As a result, cities, businesses, investors and civil society organisations have evolved from facilitators and implementers of state-mandated climate action to co-governors at the global level. Specifically, rather than solely relying on inter-state processes, these actors now form voluntary cross-border alliances with each other to generate normative frameworks that require relevant constituencies to act on climate change.

Applying qualitative methods, the aim of Laura’s research is, first, to empirically investigate the effects of norms which are set by sub-national and non-state actors, and second, to analyse how these norms relate to international climate change law. In so doing, Laura’s research seeks to add a legal perspective to the debate about how to achieve optimal partnerships between states and sub-national and non-state actors in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.