Environment, Land & Resources

German Court Dismisses Farmers’ Climate Protection Claim

Posted in Environmental Litigation

The court argued that the German government’s 2014 decision on climate protection goals for 2020 was not legally binding.

By Jörn Kassow

On 31 October 2019, the Administrative Court of Berlin dismissed a climate lawsuit brought by German citizens against the government. The plaintiffs had alleged that the government was violating their rights by missing certain climate protection targets.

In 2014, the German government adopted its climate protection goals for 2020, which aimed at a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% (compared to 1990). However, the government now estimates that Germany will only be able to reduce emissions by 32%. Furthermore, Germany will probably not achieve the 14% reduction of GHGs which are not covered by the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), as required under the so-called Effort Sharing Decision, without credits from emission-reduction projects in third countries. Continue Reading

UK Releases New Details on Net Zero Target Measures

Posted in Environmental Regulation

The announcements signal how both the Net Zero Review and the IETF will impact the UK’s transition to net zero.

By Paul Davies and Michael Green

On 2 November 2019, the UK government announced further details on two initiatives focused on helping the UK reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The first of these measures, HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review (Review), will consider how the UK should fund efforts to meet its net zero target. The second measure, the proposed Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF), aims to help energy-intensive industries reduce their carbon emissions. New details surrounding the proposed measures signal how both the Review and the IETF will impact the UK’s transition to net zero. Continue Reading

EU and Countries Worldwide Coordinate to Harmonize Rules on Green Financing

Posted in Green Finance

The launch of the International Platform on Sustainable Finance indicates an increased focus on a globalized approach to coordinating sustainable finance.

By Paul Davies and Michael D. Green

On October 18, 2019, the EU, China, India, and five other countries combined to launch the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF). Acknowledging the role that private capital has to play in scaling up sustainable investment worldwide, the IPSF seeks to provide a platform to increase private-sector funding in this area. This blog post will consider in more detail the IPSF’s aims, as well as the ways in which the IPSF intends to achieve them. Continue Reading

UK Government Outlines New Powers and Regulations in Environment Bill

Posted in Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law

The Bill proposes a post-Brexit system of environmental governance to oversee new powers and regulations in four environmental law areas.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 15 October 2019, the UK government published the final draft of Environment Bill 2019–20 (the Bill), which aims to set out the government’s environmental priorities post-Brexit. The Bill covers a broad range of topics ― from air quality to England’s future environmental governance — and gives a legal footing to several policy commitments that the government has made in recent years. This blog post will consider the Bill’s content, and the potential impact that the Bill may have on environmental regulation in England. Continue Reading

EU Issues Final Report on Climate Benchmarks and ESG Disclosures

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law, Green Finance

Technical Expert Group recommends minimum requirements for two new benchmarks.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 30 September 2019, the EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) published its final report on climate benchmarks and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures (the Report), as well as a summary of the Report. The Report makes recommendations regarding the minimum technical requirements for the methodology that pertains to two new climate benchmarks. The Report also makes recommendations for suggested ESG disclosures on a wide range of benchmarks. This post will examine the TEG recommendations and their implications for the future of these climate benchmarks.

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German Government Adopts Climate Action Programme 2030

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law

The Programme includes a new CO2 pricing regime aimed at emissions caused by the building sector and by traffic and transport.

By Jörn Kassow

On 20 September 2019, the German government adopted the Climate Action Programme 2030, a plan to ensure that Germany achieves its climate protection goals for 2030, including a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 55% (compared to 1990). The Programme comprises a number of measures for all relevant sectors. Significant measures include:

CO2 pricing: New pricing of CO2 emissions caused by the building sector and by traffic and transport may be the single most important aspect of the Programme. The relevant national emissions trading system will be launched in 2021. Companies selling heating fuel (such as heating oil, gas, or coal) and fuel for vehicles will need to buy one certificate for every tonne of CO2 emitted by the products they sell. While fuel traders will initially bear the costs of these certificates, such costs are likely to be passed on to consumers. The trading system will start with a fixed price of €10 per tonne of CO2 in 2021 and increase to €35 per tonne of CO2 in 2025. After 2025, the market will set the price, within a fixed band. The total quantity of certificates issued throughout Germany shall be in line with the German and European climate targets. Continue Reading

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