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Category Archives: Environment

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The OECD’s View on Integration of ESG Issues into Investments – What Next?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a report (OECD Report) on investment governance and integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors on 2 May 2017. The OECD Report develops work already carried out by the organisation on the regulation of investment companies and pension fund … Continue Reading

Conservation Finance: An Increasingly Attractive Concept for Investors?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green Broadly defined, conservation finance is the raising of capital to support the conservation of land, water and resources. This concept started with “debt for nature” swaps during the 1980s and 1990s whereby developing countries agreed to protect ecosystems using revenues freed up by sovereign debt relief (such deals usually … 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

Update: Stricter EU Environmental Performance Standards to Apply to Large Combustion Plants by 2021

By Jörn Kassow and Patrick Braasch Emissions from approximately 2,900 large combustion plants in the EU, including coal-fired power stations as well as peat, oil and gas power plants, are now likely to be subject to stricter environmental performance standards. These updated standards (“Best Available Techniques Conclusions for Large Combustion Plants” – BREF LCP), based on … Continue Reading

Trouble Ahead? Lobbying Underway to Prevent the Extension to the Industrial Emissions Directive

By Paul Davies, Michael Green and Kristof Ferenczi The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) is the main EU instrument that regulates emissions from industrial installations (including power stations) and came into force on 6 January 2011. Its objective is to achieve a high level of protection for the environment and human health by reducing harmful industrial … Continue Reading

France Adopts a New Law Requiring Companies to Diligence their Supply Chains in Relation to Human Rights, Environmental, and Health and Safety Issues

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On March 27, 2017, the French Parliament adopted a Law On The Duty Of Vigilance For Parent And Subcontracting Companies. The law amends the Commerce Code and requires companies to establish and implement a plan for diligencing human rights, environmental, and health and safety issues in their supply chains. … Continue Reading

China’s Securities Regulator Issues New Green Bond Guidelines

By Paul Davies, Aaron Franklin, and Andrew Westgate The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) released new guidelines (the Guidelines) on the issuance of green bonds on March 2, 2017, marking an important step in the development of what is now the world’s largest green bond market, accounting for 39% of global issuances by principal amount issued … Continue Reading

Blockchain – A New Era for the Energy Market?

By Paul Davies, Fiona Maclean and Stuart Davis Blockchain is more widely recognised as the underlying software technology used for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. This technology is also being increasingly applied to alternative opportunities, including in the energy sector. In its simplest form, a blockchain is a shared, and continually reconciled, database. No central repository of the … Continue Reading

US Environmental Regulations to Face Rollbacks, but Reform likely to be Tempered by Legal Barriers

By Joel Beauvais, Claudia O’Brien, Bridget R. Reineking and Andrew Westgate. Since assuming office in January, President Donald Trump – with the support of Congress – has stated his intention to roll back “burdensome” U.S. environmental regulations. The White House and Congress aim to reverse several of President Obama’s regulations on air and water pollution, land … Continue Reading

The Erosion of Cost Caps – at the Expense of Bona Fide Environmental Challenges?

By Paul Davies and Samuel Pape Key changes to the Protective Cost Order regime (PCO) came into force on 28 February 2017, which could directly limit the ability of individuals and organisations to bring environmental-related legal challenges in England and Wales. Background The PCO was introduced in 2013 in part due for the purposes of … Continue Reading

“Final warning” on Air pollution from the European Commission

By Michael Green, Elisabetta Righini, Joern Kassow, Rosa Espin, Eun-Kyung Lee, and Cesare Milani. On 15 February 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) sent final warnings (a Reasoned Opinion) to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom for failing to comply with the air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Under EU law, Directive 2008/50/EC on … Continue Reading

Wind Power Overtakes Coal in Europe

By Paul Davies and Rosa Espin Last year, 86 % of the 24.5 GW of new generating capacity installed in the EU came from renewable energy sources, specifically from wind, solar, biomass and hydro, breaking the previous record of 79% in 2014. This new water mark makes clear that the EU is seeking to cut … Continue Reading

China Will Issue “Green Certificates” for Renewable Energy

By Paul Davies & Andrew Westgate China’s National Development and Reform Commissions (NDRC) – the country’s chief economic planning body – announced that a “green certificates” program for solar and wind power will be launched beginning on July 1, 2017. The certificates issued by the program will be similar to the Renewable Energy Credits issued … Continue Reading

Modern Industrial Strategy: Will the Environment Get Left Behind?

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 … Continue Reading

Italian Constitutional Court Publishes Grounds of its Decision on the Constitutional Legitimacy of the “Spalma-Incentivi” Decree

By Cesare Milani On December 7, 2016, the Italian Constitutional Court (the Constitutional Court) rejected on appeal the claim that the new state incentives scheme, pursuant to the Italian Law Decree no. 91, dated June 24, 2014, (the Decree), which applies retrospectively to the renewable energy sector, was unconstitutional. (Please see recent blog for more information.) … Continue Reading

Will China Become the Global Leader on Climate Change?

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate  Climate change has become a key concern for China in recent years, as evidenced by its pledge to reduce carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 60% from 2015 levels by 2030. As we have previously written, it has also become a leader in the emerging field of green … Continue Reading

Environment: The Year Ahead

By Paul Davies, Antonio Morales, Jörn Kassow, Joachim Grittmann and Cesare Milani The year ahead presents a series of challenges and opportunities for the development of environmental law across Europe. Notably, the Paris Agreement came into effect on 4 November 2016 and is now binding upon the signatory countries. The European signatory countries will therefore be … Continue Reading

The Notion of “Ecological Prejudice” Now in the French Civil Code

By Michael Green With the Biodiversity Law n°2016-1087 of August 8, 2016, the French Civil code now formally recognises “ecological prejudice” (préjudice écologique) as a category of indemnifiable damage. The move is symbolically significant and builds on the recognition of this category of damages by the Court of Appeals of Paris on March 30, 2010 … Continue Reading

China focuses on Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Laws

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate The Supreme People’s Court (SPC), China’s highest judicial body, issued a judicial interpretation on December 26, 2016 which defines 18 types of environmental crimes as “serious environmental pollution” and identifies 13 types of “serious consequences” under China’s criminal law, subject to increased penalties. The report is available here (in … Continue Reading

State Council Announces Plan for a Pollution Discharge Permit System

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate China’s State Council released its “Plan for Controlling the Implementation of the Pollution Discharge Permit System,” (the Plan), which establishes guidelines and policy goals for the pollution permitting system being designed and implemented by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), on November 21, 2016. The permits will set specific … Continue Reading

Sustainability: The Road to a Circular Economy

By Paul Davies The launch of the Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019, covering the eco-design and energy labelling framework last month is another key milestone in the Commission’s plan to transition the EU to a more circular economy. Key points to note from the Working Plan include: The current state of play is that the Commission … Continue Reading

Sustainable Investment and ESG Compliance ─ Emerging Litigation

By Sophie Lamb and Paul Davies There is an increasing desire amongst PE firms to publicise value creation through the use of bespoke metrics to measure improvements and value derived from (ESG) policies including improved reputational risk management; better and more transparent governance; better health, environmental and safety standards; heightened efficiency; less disruption as a … Continue Reading
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