The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore will also launch 12 key initiatives, including a levy on sustainable aviation fuel and low-carbon electricity imports.

By Paul A. Davies, Farhana Sharmeen, Michael D. Green, James Bee, and Kevin Mak

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has launched the Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint (Blueprint) as part of its efforts to decarbonise Singapore’s aviation sector while enabling sustainable growth.


The Blueprint aims to reduce domestic aviation emissions[i] from airport operations by 20% from 2019 levels (404ktCO2) in 2030 and achieve net zero domestic and international aviation emissions by 2050. This net zero goal aligns with both Singapore’s national climate target and the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s target for the global aviation industry. Alongside the Blueprint, CAAS will introduce 12 initiatives to decarbonise Singapore’s aviation sector and five enablers for the effective implementation of these decarbonisation initiatives. The initiatives will be implemented across three domains: airport, airline, and air traffic management.

The guidance offers clarification on key aspects of the TCFD’s recommendations on climate reporting.

By Paul A. Davies, Michael D. Green, and James Bee

On 14 October 2021, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) released a new guidance document on climate-related metrics, targets, and transition plans (the Guidance). The Guidance seeks to support organisations that make TCFD-aligned disclosures in preparing decision-useful metrics, targets, and transition plan information and linking that information to estimates of financial impact. The Guidance builds on a consultation paper on the same topic that the TCFD released in June 2021.

The report lays down policies aimed at fostering carbon neutrality in the UK by 2050 and supporting Paris Agreement pledges.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 9 December 2020, the UK Climate Change Committee (the Committee) published its 6th Carbon Budget (the Budget), as required under the Climate Change Act. The Budget provides ministers with advice on the volume of greenhouse gases the UK can emit during the period 2033-2037 and also contains policies designed to place the UK on track to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Budget comes in the context of the UK bolstering its climate ambitions ahead of hosting the COP26 in Glasgow next year, as the Prime Minister has recently committed to cutting emissions by at least 68% from 1990 levels by 2030. The Government also published a ten-point plan aimed at boosting the green economy.

The Innovation Fund will promote advanced low-carbon technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote decarbonisation.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

By the end of 2018, the European Commission will set up an Innovation Fund (the Fund) to aid decarbonisation. To achieve this, the European Commission will amend the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) Directive via a delegated act. The EU ETS was created to reduce carbon emissions and incentivise companies to reduce their output, and covers around 45% of the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Entities with access to the Fund from 2021 to 2030 (phase 4 of EU ETS) will include power and energy-intensive industrial sectors.

The Fund will build on support from the NER300 initiative — a large funding programme for innovative low-carbon projects. This support led to €2.1 billion being awarded to 38 innovative renewable energy projects and a carbon capture and geological storage (CCS) project. Money from the Fund will be used to help finance low-carbon technologies such as CCS, and will extend to both small and large-scale projects.

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 and battery storage sites.

Renewable energy projects like Clayhill have become increasingly viable in recent years due to the falling cost of solar panels and batteries. In particular, cheaper manufacturing costs have enabled solar generation to become cost-competitive with electricity from fossil fuels. However, despite these favorable conditions, the Renewables Obligation subsidy scheme — one of the UK government’s main mechanisms for encouraging renewable electricity projects — closed to new applicants in March 2017.

By Paul Davies and Michael Green

The UK government has announced that it is bringing together a new taskforce led by senior financiers in order to encourage the growth of “green finance”. The taskforce, which will be chaired by Sir Roger Gifford, former lord mayor of London, has six months to develop proposals aimed at accelerating investment in low-carbon projects.

The UK’s climate change minister, Claire Perry, announced the initiative in New York at the opening of Climate Week. According to Perry, “The transition to a low-carbon economy is a multi-billion pound investment opportunity and a key part of this government’s industrial strategy”.

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 and storms.
  • The impact of changes associated with transitioning to a lower carbon economy such as (i) developments in climate policy (ii) new disruptive technologies or (iii) the changing priorities of investors.

The BoE’s approach in mitigating the financial risks from climate change has two elements:

  • Actively engaging with firms that have climate related risks such as segments of the insurance industry. The BoE is “deepening” its work here, focusing on the insurance sector and starting to work in the banking sector.
  • Improving the resilience of the UK financial system by engaging with initiatives to support a smooth market transition to a low carbon economy. This includes taking a proactive interest in the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) private sector on climate related financial disclosures (TCFD), co-chairing the G20 green finance study group on behalf of the UK and co-ordinating with other insurance regulators in the Sustainable Insurance Forum (SIF). The BoE is consolidating this international work by (i) liaising with other financial regulators and engaging with the private sector on climate related issues and (ii) considering related research and analytical work, such as reviewing frameworks for understanding the impact of climate change on the wider community.

By Paul Davies and Michael Green

The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a Green Paper on 23 January 2017, setting out the building blocks for the UK’s modern industrial strategy. Described by Theresa May as a “critical part” of the plan for post-Brexit Britain, the implementation of this strategy will have important policy ramifications, in particular, for the environment.

Overview of the Green Paper

Key points to note from the Green Paper include:

  • a consultation is launched which invites a review of the costs of achieving the UK’s decarbonisation goals and how to best support business energy efficiency (the consultation will close on 17 April 2017);
  • a review of the case for a new research institution on battery technology, energy storage and grid technology, will be undertaken, and findings will be released in early 2017 and an emissions reductions plan is expected in February 2017;
  • the government’s new approach to industrial strategy based on ten pillars will focus on ensuring that the UK economy benefits from the transition to a low-carbon economy by delivering affordable energy and clean growth; and
  • there will be a focus on improving the UK’s energy, transport, water and flood defence infrastructure.

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate

The Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress has released the revised Shanghai Environmental Protection Regulations (in Chinese only) for public comment. The revised Regulations, which first came into force in 1997, apply exclusively in Shanghai, one of China’s most prosperous and business-intensive regions and are an example of China’s continued commitment at a local level to transitioning towards a low carbon economy.

Significant provisions

In this post, we will comment on those provisions in the proposed Regulations that are particularly significant or interesting to note in the wider context of the development of Chinese environmental law. China’s National People’s Congress passed an amended version of China’s national Environmental Protection Law (EPL) in 2014 – the first amendments since the law’s initial passage in 1989. Whilst many of the proposed provisions in the Regulations track the revised EPL (for example, the establishment of pollution caps), others are potentially very different, including rewards for meeting pollution goals and the issuance of an industry-by-industry catalogue. Below are the provisions to consider as a multinational business operating in Shanghai.

Public Interest Litigation and Environmental NGOS (Articles 5 and 8) These provisions echo the EPL by stating that citizens shall have access to environmental information, and the right to report violations and to protect their rights through litigation. The Regulations also express support for public interest environmental litigation filed by environmental NGOs in