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One of the aims of our newsletter is to connect the members of our vibrant community. Therefore, in each issue, we introduce a member of the community who answers to some general questions and tells about his/her research. Want to be interviewed for our next newsletter? Let us know!

Margarita Nieves Zárate
PhD year: 2nd year
Nationality: Colombian
PhD topic: Supervision of offshore oil and gas exploration and production and the independence of the regulatory authorities.

Hobbies: I have a wide variety of interests. I devote my free time to learn languages, read books, travel, write about my experiences, train physically and dance.

Why energy? During my high school I discovered that energy fuels the world. My province, La Guajira, provides energy resources to Colombia, including natural gas and coal. However, people were dissatisfied because the wealth in natural resources was not reflected in the quality of life of the inhabitants. At that time –and still today to some extent– all the problems in the world were related to “oil” but nobody knew why. Due to these issues, I decided to study Law and focus my career on energy. When I finished my bachelor, I moved to Bogotá, in order to work for the government as a lawyer in the management of public lands and study a specialisation on mining and oil law.

After these studies, I worked for the oil and gas authority in Colombia and I did a master in Energy Law. During this master, I became aware of the global importance of energy and I started to do research on energy resources in Colombia and Latin America. At this point I decided that in order to improve my research skills and boost my academic career, the most logical step was to pursue a PhD on Energy Law.

What do you like about the energy community of young researchers (ECoYR)? Since doing a PhD is generally a solitary work, I feel privileged of being part of the ECoYR. The ECoYR is a community where we not just learn from senior scholars but also present our own work and put it on the table for discussion. This community is a lively representation of the interdisciplinary character of the energy field in its technical, financial, political, legal and social dimensions.

The creation of the ECoYR marks a before and after in the status of the network of researchers in the energy field in Groningen. Engineers, psychologists, social workers, lawyers, physics, economists, we all work individually in our research projects, usually without meeting each other. With the ECoYR we have the opportunity of meeting, map what is happening in Groningen in terms of research in the energy field and find potential collaborations from an interdisciplinary perspective.

You joined COP 24. Can you share some highlights? I presented my analysis on the legal challenges for implementing the Paris Agreement during the Official Side Event of COP-24 ‘Advances in Climate Law, Governance and Economic Instruments – Implementing the Paris Agreement Worldwide’. One of my main messages was that the importance of International law for climate change is to no longer address climate change as a mere scientific or political issue, but as a legal one as well. From this viewpoint, the main outcome of the COP-24 is the adoption of ‘the Paris rulebook’. This is a detailed guideline for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which enters force in 2020. The rulebook addresses several matters, such as how countries should report their greenhouse gas emissions or contributions to climate finance, as well as which rules should apply to voluntary market mechanisms, such as carbon trading.