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Category Archives: Environment

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China Encourages Green Finance to Meet Clean Development Goals

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate On 18 October 2017, the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will convene, after the week-long National Day holiday, marking one of the most important dates on the Chinese political calendar. Among the issues that National Congress members will surely discuss, is the importance of implementing strategies … Continue Reading

European Parliament: Substances of Concern in the Circular Economy Are Difficult to Address

By Paul Davies and Michael Green A new European Parliament briefing highlights the benefits of, and difficulties associated with, transitioning the chemicals industry to a circular economy. The traditional economy typically involves purchasing and using a product, and then disposing that product when it no longer has utility (i.e. the “take-make-dispose” approach to resources). Conversely, … Continue Reading

Urban Mining Briefing Reveals Huge Global Potential

By Jörn Kassow and Eun Kyung Lee Germany’s increasing shortage of natural resources and the corresponding mounting cost of extracting raw materials signals the need for alternative and innovative ways of collecting and recycling secondary raw materials. One promising method of securing potential secondary raw materials is “urban mining”, which aims primarily at reclaiming raw … 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

Portuguese Children Crowdfund Climate Change Suit Against 47 Countries

By Paul Davies and Michael Green Six Portuguese children are raising funds to sue 47 European countries, asserting that their right to life has been threatened because governments have allegedly failed to adequately deal with climate change. With the support of lawyers from the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), the children will ask nations in … Continue Reading

China’s War on Pollution: Measuring the Economic Impact

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate China’s State Council released an “Opinion Concerning Establishment of a Long-Term Mechanism for Early-Warning and Monitoring of Environmental and Natural Resources Carrying Capacity,” which will halt major projects in heavily polluted areas, according to a report from the official Xinhua news agency. The opinion also calls for authorities to … Continue Reading

UK Launches Taskforce to Encourage Growth of Green Finance

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 … Continue Reading

China Unveils Plan to Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Addressing a car forum in Tianjin, Xin Guobin, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, announced that the Chinese government is developing plans to follow in the footsteps of some European countries to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles. “Some countries have worked out a timetable to stop production and … 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

PRI’s Private Equity Terms Guidance Focuses on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Factors

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 13 July 2017, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) launched guidance on incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) provisions in private equity fund terms. The publication, Incorporating Responsible Investment Requirements into Private Equity Fund Terms (the Guidance), followed a year-long consultation period with PRI signatories, expert counsel, and industry … Continue Reading

Proposed Draft Legislation Clamps Down on Soil Pollution in China

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate On 22 June 2017, Chinese legislators released draft proposals to combat soil pollution in China at a bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The legislation complements the State Council’s ambitious plan to address soil pollution – an area not specifically covered by Chinese environmental law … Continue Reading

A New European Standard for “Green Finance”

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The High Level Expert Group on sustainable finance  (the Group), which the European Commission (the EC) established, published its interim report on 13 July 2017. The report sets out the key steps required to create a financial system that supports sustainable investment, as well as identifying areas for financial … Continue Reading

G20 Advances Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 8 July 2017, the G20 summit in Hamburg issued a Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth (the Plan). The Plan reaffirms the commitment of the countries (excluding the United States (US) — which announced its intended withdrawal from the Paris Agreement) to work together to implement the … Continue Reading

Responsibility for German Nuclear Waste Shifts With Creation of State-owned Fund

By Paul Davies, Joern Kassow and Alexander Wilhelm In early July 2017, operators of German nuclear power plants initiated the next step in the process of decommissioning by transferring €24 billion to the new state-owned fund for nuclear power plant waste disposal. The German state established the Fund for the Financing of the Nuclear Waste … 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

European Commission Proposes Action to Streamline Environmental Reporting

By Jörn Kassow and Eun-Kyung Lee On June 9, 2017, the European Commission (EC) published its Action Plan to Streamline Environmental Reporting (COM(2017) 312), summarising the findings of its review of reporting requirements following the 2015 ‘Better Regulation Initiative.’ As part of this 2015 Initiative, the EC carried out a fitness check focused on assessing environmental … Continue Reading

Pharmaceuticals in The Environment: What will EU Environment Roadmap Mean for Pharmaceuticals?

By Paul Davies, Elisabetta Righini and Rosa Espin On 28 April 2017, the European Commission (the EC) published a “roadmap” on the strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment, particularly in the aquatic environment. Concurrently, the EC launched a 12-week open public consultation to address the environmental pollution caused by human and veterinarian pharmaceutical substances. … Continue Reading

China Increases Focus on Electronic Waste

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate As a world leader in the manufacturing of electronic devices, China is beginning to reform its rules and regulations to ensure that the resulting framework is able to keep pace with the rapid developments now taking place in this sector both in China and globally. Two recent developments in … Continue Reading

The European Commission Places Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Issues Centre Stage

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The European Commission has recently published plans to integrate sustainability considerations into decisions made by investors within the EU. More specifically, the EU is looking to spell out in legislation, that the consideration of ESG issues should be incorporated into the fiduciary duties of EU asset managers. The main … Continue Reading
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