Environment, Land & Resources

UK Government Launches Hydrogen Strategy and Business Model Consultation

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change

Strategy positions UK as a world leader in the hydrogen space, supporting 9,000 plus jobs and unlocking £4 billion in investment by 2030.

By Paul Davies, John-Patrick Sweny, and James Bee

On 17 August 2021, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the UK’s first Hydrogen Strategy (the Strategy). The Strategy sets out the government’s roadmap for achieving its ambition of 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, as identified in the Ten Point Industrial Revolution Plan released in November 2020, with government projections indicating that 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption could be hydrogen-based by 2050.

Forecasts suggest that by 2030, hydrogen could play an important role in decarbonising certain highly polluting industries that are unsuitable for electrification, such as chemicals, industrial furnaces, and long-distance or heavy-duty transport, as well as replace natural gas in powering around three million homes a year. The Strategy clarifies the government’s view that developing the UK hydrogen sector will achieve the twin goals of reducing the UK’s carbon footprint in line with the UK’s net zero commitments, whilst stimulating significant job creation and economic growth in the industrial sector. Continue Reading

China’s National ETS Launches Trading

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, China

The start of trading represents a significant opportunity for businesses able to achieve meaningful reductions.

By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate

Nearly four years after China’s national emissions trading scheme (ETS) was announced in late 2017, trading of emissions quotas officially commenced on July 16. The start of trading represents a significant step in China’s adoption of market-based mechanisms for addressing climate change, while also signifying a major opportunity for businesses able to achieve meaningful reductions.

More than 4.1 million tonnes of Chinese Carbon Emission Allowances (CEAs) traded on the first day at a price of RMB52.78 (or US$7.42) per tonne — an amount that was in line with analysts’ expectations for launch. Although this price is significantly below the prices of allowances in the EU ETS (€52.89 per tonne on July 16) or California (US$18.80 per tonne at the May 2021 auction), it is close to the allowance price in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a cap-and-trade program covering 11 states on the east coast of the United States (US$7.97 per tonne at the auction held on June 2, 2021). Like China’s ETS in its initial phase, the RGGI covers only power plants. Since the launch, prices have largely held steady, although volume fell significantly after the initial flurry of activity. Continue Reading

European Commission Releases Legislative Package to Meet Emissions Target

Posted in Energy Regulatory, Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law

The package aims to deliver on the targets agreed in the European Climate Law and fundamentally transform the EU’s economy and society for a greener future.

By Paul A. Davies, Nicola Higgs, David Little, Elisabetta Righini, JP Sweny, and Michael D. Green

On 14 July 2021, the European Commission (the Commission) unveiled a long-awaited package of proposals that seeks to align the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport, and taxation policies with the European Green Deal’s emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The European Climate Law, which enters into force this month, will enshrine this target into binding legislation.

This blog post outlines the key elements of the package, which aims to fulfil the Commission’s ambition for Europe to be the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The proposals are interconnected and aim to ensure responsibility is shared evenly across sectors, with measures providing additional financial support where necessary. Continue Reading

European Commission Publishes New Green Bond Standard and Unveils Latest Sustainable Finance Strategy

Posted in Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law, Green Finance

The new green bond standard aims to hit EU Green Deal targets, address environmental challenges, and increase investment in sustainable activities. 

By Paul Davies and Edward Kempson

The European Commission (the Commission) recently issued two key announcements relating to the newly published EU Sustainable Finance Strategy (the Strategy) and the new EU Green Bond Standard (the EUGBS). This blog will highlight key areas of focus in the Strategy and will explore anticipated dynamics in the green bond market and between the EUGBS and the International Capital Market Association’s (the ICMA’s) Green Bond Principles (the GBPs). Continue Reading

UK Regulators Launch Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion

Posted in European Environmental and Public Law

Discussion Paper opens debate on potential new rules to improve diversity in financial services.

By Rob Moulton, David Berman, Paul Davies, and Charlotte Collins

On 7 July 2021, the FCA, the PRA, and the Bank of England published a joint Discussion Paper on diversity and inclusion in the financial sector. The regulators, in particular the FCA, have been focused on diversity and inclusion as regulatory issues for some time. According to the regulators, research shows there is a positive correlation between increased diversity and inclusion and better outcomes in risk management, conduct, culture, and innovation. Therefore, improving diversity and inclusion in financial services is seen as tying in closely with the regulators’ objectives. In the Discussion Paper, the regulators consider diversity and inclusion not only in terms of how a firm is run internally, but also how the firm serves its customers. Continue Reading

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