Environment, Land & Resources

UK Government Announces Review of Net Zero Target

Posted in Environmental Regulation

The outcome of the review may signal what climate-related laws and policies to expect in the UK in the coming years.

By Paul A. DaviesMichael D. Green, and James Bee

On 8 September 2022, newly appointed UK Prime Minister Liz Truss announced that Chris Skidmore MP, a Member of Parliament and former minister of energy and clean growth, would lead a review into the UK’s net zero commitment.

The previous administration established a UK target in 2019 to bring all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a net zero level by 2050, in response to a recommendation from the Committee on Climate Change (the UK’s independent climate advisory body). The new Prime Minister, who during her leadership campaign had stated that she will “double down” on the UK’s attempts to meet its 2050 target, appointed Skidmore with the mandate to find the “fastest and most efficient way” to reach the target.

Skidmore, who as energy and clean growth minister signed the UK’s net zero target into law in 2019, has been given until the end of 2022 to report back with his findings. Continue Reading

European Commission Consults on New Ecodesign Requirements for Smartphones and Tablets

Posted in Environmental Regulation

Mobile device manufacturers may be subject to regulations that aim to mitigate the environmental impact of such devices.

By Paul A. DaviesMichael D. Green, and James Bee

On 31 August 2022, the European Commission published draft “ecodesign” regulations covering various components of smartphones and tablets, seeking to improve the environmental performance of these products.

Proposed Ecodesign Requirements

Under the Ecodesign Directive, a framework established in 2009 by the EU for the purposes of setting eco-design requirements for energy-related products, the Commission is empowered to develop regulations that lay down requirements as to the design of certain products that have significant environmental impact. These ecodesign requirements aim to harmonise resource efficiency requirements for impactful products throughout the EU to improve their environmental performance.

The Commission indicated that it chose to introduce regulation on smartphones and tablets (similar regulations have previously been introduced for products including dishwashers, domestic ovens and vacuum cleaners) due to the steep increase in demand for the products in the EU over the past decade resulting in an increase in demand for energy and materials to manufacture the devices. The Commission also noted that smartphones and tablets are often replaced prematurely by users and are, at the end of their useful life, not sufficiently reused or recycled, leading to a waste of resources.

Under the draft regulations, 15 components of smartphones and tablets, including batteries and charging ports, would be made available for at least five years from the date the device is placed on the European market. Additional requirements would also be imposed in relation to the capacity of batteries, and for smartphones and tablets to be tested for resistance to being scratched, exposed to water, and dropped (with the requirement that phones can be dropped 100 times without losing functionality). Continue Reading

New NHTSA Rule Addresses Rear Impact Protection

Posted in Safety Regulation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration intends to implement additional requirements that auto safety groups argue do not go far enough.

By Arthur F. Foerster and De Vann S. Sago

On July 15, 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Final Rule effective January 2023 that requires additional protection in rear underride protection on trailers and semi-trailers.[1] Continue Reading

CARB Finalizes Zero-Emission Auto Rules

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, California

California continues to push toward its statewide carbon-neutrality goals.

By Arthur F. Foerster and Joshua Bledsoe

On August 25, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously approved regulations that require all new 2035 and later passenger vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles. The agency’s “Advanced Clean Cars II” regulations require manufacturers to deliver an increasing percentage of zero-emission vehicles each year, starting with 35% of new vehicle sales for cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs in 2026, and ramping up each year to reach 100% new vehicle sales by 2035.[1] Continue Reading

California Legislature to Consider Aggressive Climate Targets

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, California

Governor Newsom introduces five ambitious proposals that could alter California’s climate policy for years to come.

By JP Brisson, Nikki Buffa, Marc Campopiano, Jennifer Roy, Michael Dreibelbis, Aron Potash, and Alicia Robinson

On August 12, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom submitted five climate proposals (the Climate Proposals) to the California legislature in the waning days of California’s legislative cycle. In his statement following the transmittal, Newsom explained that “[w]e’re taking all of these major actions now in the most aggressive push on climate this state has ever seen because later is too late.”[1] Continue Reading

TNFD Releases Second Version of Its Disclosure Framework

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change

The second version includes guidance on metrics and how companies can conduct dependency and impact evaluation.

By Paul A. DaviesMichael D. Green, Austin J. Pierce, and James Bee

On 28 June 2022, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) released version 0.2 of its framework for nature-related risk and opportunity management and disclosure (the Framework). The announcement builds on the release of the first iteration in March 2022, which was broadly received positively by market participants in a public feedback process hosted on the TNFD website.

The TNFD was established to develop a risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks, with the ultimate aim of supporting a shift in global financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes and toward nature-positive outcomes. As the name may suggest, the TNFD has based much of its fundamental structure, including many aspects of the core disclosure recommendations, on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The TNFD hopes that the Framework will therefore have the market impact that the TCFD recommendations have had in the climate space, and provide a basis by which companies can represent their natural capital-linked risks and opportunities in a clear and comparable manner for investors. Continue Reading

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