Ocean energy and the law of the sea: The need for a protocol
Although fossil fuels are the overwhelming source of energy for the world, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, demographic, environmental, political, and economic factors indicate that interest in alternative, renewable sources of energy will grow. There is a need for both global and national policies on ocean energy management. In particular, coastal slates and the energy industry would benefit from guidelines that helped to create a predictable, stable environment in which long-term, high-cost research, development, and investment decisions could be made with confidence. Coastal states have jurisdiction over the maritime zones most relevant to energy production, but many lack the expertise and funds to develop this potential source. Industry must operate within the control of coastal states and will not be served well by a plethora of differing legal interpretations and unilaterally imposed restrictions and obligations from state to state. An Ocean Energy Protocol to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea would afford governments and industry the opportunity to clarify their respective obligations and address particular interests for mutual benefit.