Environment, Land & Resources

European Commission Updates 2030 Climate Target to Cut Emissions by 55%

Posted in European Environmental and Public Law

The Commission’s 2030 Climate Target Plan sets out required actions for a number of sectors.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 17 September 2020, the European Commission (Commission) presented its 2030 Climate Target Plan, which calls for a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of at least 55%, compared to 1990 levels; sets out required actions for a number of sectors; and identifies key changes to be made to existing legislation.

To announce the 2030 Climate Target Plan, the Commission released a Communication, a synopsis report that analyses responses to previous consultations, and an impact plan. Continue Reading

Climate Assembly UK Publishes 2050 Net Zero Target Recommendations

Posted in Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law

The UK citizens’ assembly identifies overarching principles and makes specific recommendations for achieving the environmental goal.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green


The Climate Assembly UK has published its report on how the UK can achieve its statutory target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The report, which was released on 10 September 2020, followed more than a month of weekend meetings (some of which took place remotely due to the pandemic). Participants underwent a three-stage process of learning, discussion, and decision-making.

Comprising 108 members of the public, the citizens’ assembly was commissioned in June 2019 by six Select Committees of the House of Commons, including the Environmental Audit and Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. The House of Commons sponsored the initiative, with two philanthropic organisations providing additional funding and not-for-profit organisations organising the assembly

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California to Require 100% Zero-Emission Passenger Vehicle Sales by 2035

Posted in California, Environmental Regulation

The Governor has issued an Executive Order with sweeping implications for the oil and gas industry and others.

By Jean-Philippe Brisson, Joshua T. Bledsoe, Nikki Buffa, and Brian F. McCall

On September 23, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-79-20, which will have sweeping implications for the oil and gas industry, automakers, low-carbon fuel producers, the logistics industry, and public transit agencies, among others (the Executive Order). Newsom announced the Executive Order against the backdrop of what he called “simultaneous crises,” none of which he argued is more impactful and forceful as the climate crisis. The press conference included Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), standing before a small fleet of zero-emission vehicles.

In what will likely be viewed as the most far-reaching measure, the Executive Order requires all passenger vehicle sales starting in 2035 to have zero emissions — a mandate that essentially bans sales of new internal-combustion-powered passenger vehicles in California. As discussed below, the Executive Order raises several significant issues. Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Continues to Double Down on ESG Factors

Posted in Environmental Regulation

The DOL proposes rules that would curb proxy voting by plan fiduciaries on shareholder proposals.

By Paul A. Davies, Paul M. Dudek, Ryan J. Maierson, and Kristina S. Wyatt

Continued DOL Antipathy Toward ESG

On August 31, 2020, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed rules that could induce Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan fiduciaries to either abstain from voting on shareholder proposals related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters or establish policies that would have plans default to voting in favor of management’s recommendations. This latest development comes on the heels of DOL actions designed to limit fiduciaries’ consideration of ESG factors in their investment decisions, as discussed in this blog post. Continue Reading

European Commission Launches Consultation on Proposed Green Claims Regulation

Posted in European Environmental and Public Law

Proposed regulation will require companies to substantiate their environmental footprint claims, seeking to ensure green claims are more reliable.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green


On 27 August 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) launched a public consultation on a possible proposal on substantiating green claims about products or services. This follows on from the Commission’s Inception Impact Assessment Roadmap on potential regulation of green claims. The consultation period for this Roadmap closed on 31 August 2020, so the Commission is already moving ahead with the consultation on the proposal itself. This initiative is another step toward meeting the objectives identified in the European Green Deal, pursuant to which the Commission committed itself to making the EU climate neutral by 2050. Continue Reading