LEGAL ACTION FOR THE CLIMATE GOAL: TOWARDS EQUITY, SURVIVAL AND THE RULE OF LAW
“PRESIDENT TRUMP MAY HAVE HIS ALTERNATIVE FACTS,
BUT ALTERNATIVE FACTS DO NOT WORK IN A COURTROOM”
EU DIRECTIVE 2014/95 of 22 October 2014 regarding disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups
1. Legal and regulatory approaches to support implementation of NDCs and to attract clean technology investment
Legal and regulatory measures to tackle climate change may be grouped into two broad categories:
(i) top down, ‘command and control’ regulation to control the emission of greenhouse gases and to protect carbon sinks; and
(ii) economic instruments designed to harness market forces away from polluting activities / destruction of carbon sinks and towards clean technologies / protection and development of carbon sinks.
It is not, however, a question of either / or. An effective mitigation strategy will deploy measures from both categories in ways that are complementary and mutually supportive.
1.1 Direct regulation (ie ‘command and control’)
1.1.1 National climate change legislation, anchoring a national GHG emission reduction plan (or NDC).
An NDC will gain credibility if anchored in national legislation. Such an approach provides the basis for other measures, and a level of policy certainty likely to attract inward investment.
The UK Climate Change Act 2008 requires the Secretary of State to ensure that the ‘net UK carbon account’ for 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline. It provides a formal process for the target to be amended in light of developments in climate change science, and also requires the Secretary of State to specify a short-term carbon budget for every five year period.
1.1.2 Legislation and regulation establishing sectoral and regional GHG emission reduction plans
1.1.3 Standards controlling specific high polluting activities and processes, eg methane release from fracking, flaring, power plants, transport etc
1.1.4 Standards for protecting carbon sinks
1.1.5 Standards establishing minimum environmental quality standards, eg for air pollution and ocean acidity levels.
1.1.6 Standards for energy efficiency (eg for lighting, air conditioning, internal, housing, combustion engines etc etc)
1.1.7 Standards regarding product manufacture (eg HFCs in refrigeration).
1.1.8 Obligations on companies to report their emissions.
1.1.9 Obligations on institutional investors and finance institutions to consider the societal implications of their investments, and to report on consistency with national and international GHG emissions reduction targets.
1.2 Economic incentives (or ‘economic instruments’)
1.2.1 Taxes and specific charges on polluting activities
1.2.2 Subsidies for clean technology / removal of subsidies for polluting industries
1.2.3 Regional / national emission trading schemes
1.2.4 Liability and compensation for pollution damage
1.2.5 Performance bonds (eg payment to authorities which is returned on proof of compliance with licence conditions)
1.2.6 Trade restrictions on products exceeding national standards
1.2.7 Incentives for investment in carbon sinks / carbon capture
1.2.8 Deposit-refund systems to encourage recycling
1.2.9 Requirements to provide consumer information on the ‘carbon footprint’ of products and services.
2. Legal and regulatory approaches on adaptation
2.1 Obligation on government to provide science-based, temperature projection timeline for the country to inform effective adaptation measures by others
2.2 Requirements for critical national infrastructure to prepare and implement adaptation plans, on the basis of government projection
2.3 Requirements for relevant government departments to prepare and implement adaptation plans, on the basis of government projection
2.4 Standards for certain sectors, such as property construction, promoting resilience to the impacts of climate change
3. Legal and regulatory approaches on loss and damage
3.1 Legislation providing for prompt and adequate compensation for the victims of loss and damage
3.2 Subsidy of insurance schemes for loss and damage
3.3 Development of regional and international agreements to manage the displacement of people
"Successful adaptation probably requires the construction of sea walls and the building of sturdier homes — perhaps even less coastal development. But these changes are unlikely to occur without clear incentives.
Insurance markets provide such incentives by communicating where adaptation is needed. But in too many states, well-intentioned regulations aren’t letting the market properly price climate risk. There’s less motive to act, leaving households and society exposed to unnecessary risk. A good example is Florida’s insurance market, where regulations cap premiums — forcing inland areas to pay more for wind insurance, while the coastal residents don’t pay premiums reflecting their higher risks...."
'Non-military sources of instability in the ... ecological fields have become threats to international peace and security.'
UN Security Council, January 1992
2 August 2017: 9 States Deciding Whether to Tighten Power Plant Emissions Rules in RGGI (Inside Climate News)
22 December 2016: The coming battle between economists and the Trump team over the true cost of climate change(Washington Post)
15 December 2016: Portland Bans New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Stand Against Climate Change (Inside Climate News)
9 November 2016: Washington State Voters Reject Nation's First Carbon Tax
26 September 2016: Carbon emissions not priced at true cost to climate: OECD
20 September 2016: US and China release fossil fuel subsidy peer reviews
15 September 2015: Sell last gasoline car by 2035 to meet climate goals, study says
8 September 2016: Gov. Brown signs sweeping legislation to combat climate change
6 September 2016: Tackling Food Waste as a Way to Save the Climate, Too
30 August 2016: Uncertainty about Arena halts renewable energy projects
12 August 2016: China Proposing California-Like Mandates for Electric Cars
9 August 2016: Court backs Obama’s climate change accounting
9 August 2016: U.S. coal regulator to crack down on cleanup coverage