Environment, Land & Resources

Category Archives: Air Quality and Climate Change

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EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Highlights Opportunities for Financing New Economy*

Transparency regarding mitigation and financing rules likely to be key hurdles to overcome in achieving climate goals. By Rosa Espin, Paul Davies, and Michael Green The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, recently commented on momentum in the European Union (EU) regarding climate change and the action that countries across the … Continue Reading

German Coalition Talks Hint at Key Elements of German Environmental Policy 2018-2021

A coalition government would likely focus on energy, transportation, and the automotive industry to meet Paris Agreement targets. By Joern Kassow and Patrick Braasch Background After the 2017 German parliamentary elections, the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) faced difficulties in forming a new government. However, the parties have now agreed on … Continue Reading

European Commission Releases a New Plastics Strategy

The ambitious proposal aims to ensure all plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2030. By Paul Davies, Michael Green and Betta Righini Background Amid increasing scrutiny of plastic waste, the European Commission (the Commission) has released a for plastics in a circular economy (the Strategy). The Strategy builds upon the European Union’s (the EU’s) … Continue Reading

UK Government Launches 25-Year Environment Plan

Long-awaited 25-year environment plan aims to “restore” nature and eliminate plastic waste. By Paul Davies and Michael Green The UK government has announced its long-awaited 25-year environment plan (the ‘Plan’). Having originally said it would publish the Plan by the end of 2016, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) subsequently delayed the … Continue Reading

Climate Action 100+: Global Investors Continue Focus on Climate Change Disclosure

By Joshua Bledsoe, Sara Orr, and Bobbi-Jo Dobush Major investors with collective control of more than US$26.3 trillion are continuing to push for an increase in public companies’ governance, oversight, and disclosure of climate-related risk. Unveiled on December 12, 2017 at the One Planet Summit in Paris, the Climate Action 100+ is designed to promote the … Continue Reading

California Continues to Drive Toward Lower NOx Standards for Heavy-Duty Diesels

By Arthur Foerster and Jamie Friedland On January 12, 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will conduct a public workshop regarding CARB staff’s potential amendments to California’s heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) emission warranty requirements. According to CARB staff, the workshop will focus on potential changes to Title 13, California Code of Regulations, Section 2036, and … Continue Reading

Land Use Sector and CEQA Projects Targeted for Greenhouse Gas Reductions in Proposed Scoping Plan Update

By Marc Campopiano and Shannon Cheng A proposed Scoping Plan Update released by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) targets the land use sector and development projects for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. The proposed update was spurred by the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 32 and Assembly Bill (AB) 398, which codified California’s goal of reducing … Continue Reading

German Court Will Take Evidence in Groundbreaking Climate Change Case

By Joern Kassow and Patrick Braasch Latham has previously written about the Lliuya v. RWE AG case, in which a Peruvian farmer has sought damages from German energy giant RWE for climate change effects in his home country. The Higher Regional Court of Hamm indicated during oral hearings that it would likely proceed to take … Continue Reading

EU Urged to Tighten Regulation of Pharmaceutical Pollution

By Michael Green and Paul Davies A coalition of medical and environmental groups has called upon the European Commission (EC) to propose specific legislation that will address pollution, in particular, by active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). This political development highlights the complex debate currently taking place over how to identify and address the effects of APIs. … Continue Reading

German Energy Giant May Be Directly Liable for Climate Change Impact

By Jörn Kassow and Patrick Braasch A German appeals court has indicated in a groundbreaking civil action that major CO2 producers may be directly liable for global environmental damage caused by climate change. Mr Saúl Luciano Lliuya, a Peruvian farmer, has alleged that RWE AG, Germany’s second-largest electricity producer, is responsible for the impact of … Continue Reading

European Commission Emphasises Environmental Issues in 2018 Work Programme

By Michael Green and Paul Davies Following decision C(2017)7124 of the European Commission (EC), the EC has launched its Work Programme for 2018 (WP 2018). WP 2018 outlines plans for achieving the EC’s primary policy objectives during the next 12 months — with particular attention to environmental issues. WP 2018 outlines four “Focus Areas” (FAs) … Continue Reading

GAO Releases Climate Change Report

By J.P. Brisson, Michael Dreibelbis, and Chris Antonacci On October 24, 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the auditing agency of the US Congress, released a report on climate change titled, “Information on Potential Economic Effects Could Help Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Fiscal Exposure” (the Report). GAO prepared the Report at the request of … Continue Reading

First Subsidy-Free Solar Farm Opens in UK

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The first solar farm has successfully launched in the UK without government subsidisation. Clayhill Solar Farm, a 10 megawatt (MW) site near Flitwick in Bedfordshire, is capable of generating enough power for 2500 homes. Clayhill’s developer, Anesco, is a private company specialising in the design and development of solar … Continue Reading

China Dominates Global Investments in Renewable Energy

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Market research has long recognized China as the largest investor in its own domestic renewable energy industry. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China invested US$102 billion in 2015 alone. However, a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found that China’s dominance in renewables … Continue Reading

China’s Pilot Programmes Welcome Announced Launch of Emissions Trading System

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Chinese policymakers have indicated that the country’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) — which will be the largest system of its kind globally and the centerpiece of Chinese climate change policy — is likely to launch in November 2017 “at the very earliest”. The delay will enable China to announce … Continue Reading

Will Tougher Environmental Laws Mean Measurable Change for Pollution in China?

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate In reforming and updating its environmental laws, China has until recently been focusing on air pollution. Attention is now turning to addressing water and soil pollution as well. For example, the Chinese government is now considering more robust penalties for those responsible for water pollution, indicating that the government … Continue Reading

Will TCFD Final Recommendations Change the Landscape of Climate-related Financial Disclosure?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 29 June 2017, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) published its final recommendations. The TCFD set out information that companies should disclose to enable investors, lenders, and insurance underwriters to better understand how companies oversee and manage climate-related financial risk. Ultimately, the aim is to strike … Continue Reading

Bank of England’s Response to Financial Risks Arising from Climate Change

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 16 June 2017, the Bank of England (BoE) published an article setting out its response to climate change, explaining that climate change and society’s response to it presents certain financial risks. These risks arise through two main ways: The physical effects of climate change such as droughts, floods … Continue Reading

U.S. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement Creates an Opening for China to Lead

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced during a speech at the White House that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, fulfilling a campaign pledge to end the agreement that the President argued would harm the U.S. economy. Supporters of the Paris Agreement had lobbied for … Continue Reading

“Spain United for Climate”: The Proposed New Climate Change and Energy Transition Law

By Paul Davies and Rosa Espin Spain is leading the fight against climate change with a proposed new Climate Change and Energy Transition Law. The Spanish government regards climate change as one of the greatest challenges facing the country. Since 22 April 2016, the Paris Agreement (which sets out a global action plan to avoid … Continue Reading

Ministry of Environmental Protection Steps-up “War on Pollution”

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Earlier this month, during a round of surprise inspections, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection Zhao Yangmin publicly shamed the city officials of Langfang, a city in Hebei province, for failing to take action after a severe pollution warning was issued on April 2, 2017.  Deputy Minister … Continue Reading

Proposed Amendments to Cap-and-Trade Extension Bill Could Undermine Program

By Bob Wyman, JP Brisson, Joshua Bledsoe, Andrew Westgate, and Brittany Dryer On April 18, 2017, California Assembly Members Garcia, Holden, and Garcia proposed amendments to Assembly Bill No. 378 (AB 378) that are intended to extend but significantly reshape California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.[1] This post briefly summarizes the backdrop against which AB 378 has been … Continue Reading

President Trump Takes First Step on Long Road to Roll Back Climate Rules

By Claudia O’Brien, Bob Wyman, Joel Beauvais, Stacey VanBelleghem, Bridget Reineking, and Kimberly Leefatt On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO) directing executive departments and agencies to review regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically-produced energy resources. This EO sets the stage for what could become a … Continue Reading
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