The government provides further details on UK carbon pricing after Brexit.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 14 July 2020, the UK government published the draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2020 (the Order), establishing a framework for the potential UK Emissions Trading System (UK ETS). Subsequently, on 21 July 2020, the government published a consultation on the operation of a potential new carbon emissions tax.

The proposals outline the potential new UK system after Brexit, which could be linked to the EU Emissions Trading System

By Paul Davies and Michael Green

On 1 June 2020, the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published proposals outlining a new UK-wide Emissions Trading System (UK ETS) contained within a response document to a consultation conducted in May 2019. The proposals were jointly designed by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments, and the Northern Irish Executive (together, the government). The government has stated that the proposals are a “crucial step” towards achieving the UK’s net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

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.

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.

Building a sustainable and competitive economy: an examination of proposals to improve ESG disclosures.

By James R. Barrett, Paul A. Davies and Kristina S. Wyatt

The US House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets has held the first ever US Congressional hearing on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. The hearing focused on reporting requirements for US public companies in response to increasing interest in the investor community for enhanced ESG disclosures and uniform reporting standards.

The hearing follows on the heels of the UK’s announcement that all listed companies and large asset owners will be required to report on climate-related information in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The hearing also follows the EU’s adoption of requirements that financial professionals provide information on the incorporation of ESG criteria into their financial management processes.

Green Finance Strategy builds on the Green Finance Taskforce report, highlighting the City of London’s role in delivering a green economy.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On July 2, 2019, the UK government published its Green Finance Strategy (Strategy), subtitled “Transforming Finance for a Greener Future.” The document outlines how the finance sector, and better climate disclosure from corporate actors, can drive progress in relation to climate change and help the UK achieve its net-zero emissions target.

The Strategy aims to: position climate and environmental factors as financial and strategic imperatives; establish a shared understanding of “greening”; clarify UK governmental and private sector roles and responsibilities; transition to a long-term approach; and build robust, transparent, and consistent green financial market frameworks.

This blog will explore the background to the Strategy, as well as the Strategy’s main themes and aims.

The seven-week inquiry will assess the potential impact of decarbonization on the UK economy, and examine opportunities for the growth of green finance.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On World Environment Day, June 5, 2019, the UK Treasury Committee (the Committee) launched an inquiry into the decarbonization of the UK economy and green finance. The inquiry will scrutinize the role of HM Treasury (HMT), regulators, and financial services firms in supporting the UK government’s climate change commitments, and examine the potential for decarbonizing the UK economy.

UK Treasury Committee

The Committee was established by the House of Commons (the House) to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of HMT, HM Revenue & Customs, and associated public bodies such as the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority. The Committee is free to choose its own subjects of inquiry, which may lead to a report to the House, or a single day’s oral evidence.

Committee membership reaches across the House benches, and is currently comprised of 11 members. Five members are drawn from the Conservative Party, five from the Labour Party, and one from the Scottish National Party. Recent reports have examined topics such as consumers’ access to financial services, anti-money laundering supervision, and appointment of persons to public office.

The UK is the first major economy and G7 country to adopt the target following the CCC’s May 2019 recommendation.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

Adoption of 2050 Net-Zero Target

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that the UK government will adopt the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC’s) recommended net-zero target by 2050, and will formalize that adoption through legislation. The new target supersedes the 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction by 2050 target, contained in the Climate Change Act 2008. The Climate Change Act 2008 will be amended to incorporate the new net-zero target via statutory instrument, which has already been laid before Parliament.

The UK is the first major economy, and the first of the G7 group, to adopt a net-zero target, under which GHG emissions must be balanced by initiatives such as improved use of renewable energy, tree planting, carbon capture and storage technologies, and carbon offset schemes. The CCC’s recommended target is considered to be one of the toughest climate change targets in the world.

The Committee has recommended that the UK government take the lead in reaching net-zero, through social, financial, and policy change.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), a statutory body that advises the UK government on carbon budgets, has recommended that the UK government should commit to cutting greenhouse gases (GHGs) to net-zero by 2050 in an attempt to meet its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Financial Times described the proposed goal as the “toughest binding target of any big economy.”[i] To meet this ambitious net-zero target, the UK government would need to employ technologies such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage to curtail the volume of GHGs entering the atmosphere. Chris Stark, chief executive of the CCC, remarked that the UK’s bid to reach net-zero will be a “powerful signal to other countries”[ii] to take action.