Articles by Elizabeth Beall on the GC Blog and GC analysis
EUROPE: Global Counsel Practice Lead Elizabeth Beall is joined by Member for European Parliament Seb Dance to discuss circular economy policy.
We’re a few days away from the start of the annual climate negotiations – or Conference of the Parties (COP) – this year happening in Katowice, Poland. It is already being hailed as Paris 2.0 or the COP that puts the agreement found in Paris into action with associated rules and procedures. With Ireland on the verge of becoming the first country to require its Strategic Investment Fund to divest from fossil fuels, the EU committing to net zero emissions by 2050, and the Greens surging in Germany, it would appear that there is a growing trend of climate action and general agreement. But the UN emissions gap report issued yesterday and the IPCC report of a month ago paint a different story about how many of the countries thought to be leading on climate, are nowhere near achieving their Paris agreement pledges or the measures that it will take to keep warming to 2 degrees. So, is Paris burning with the stage set for a return for pre-Paris deadlock? Four things to watch next week.
That probably got your attention. It certainly got enough attention to ensure that the editor of Waitrose’s food magazine, William Sitwell, had to stand down after he joked that "killing vegans, one by one" was preferable to publishing a feature on plant based recipes. The story broke on World Vegan Day: talk about bad timing.
Plastics and what to do about them has shot to the front of the global policy agenda, dragging waste policy - an area most often relegated to the shadows - into the limelight. The issue matters for all voters - not just green leaning advocates - as it has implications for local taxes and reaches right into the household bin. There has been no new direction on waste policy since 2011 and no significant regulations since well before that. This combined with a public increasingly supportive of change in how waste is managed means growing anticipation for the forthcoming UK Waste and Resource Strategy due to be released before the end of the year. The Treasury’s recent inquiry into how to address waste resulted in 162,000 responses - the highest of any in history. The question is whether the strategy can satisfy the calls for ambitious transformative change while aiming to keep all corners happy as Brexit tensions rise. This note explores some of the background of why it is a pivotal moment for waste policy and unpacks a few of the key areas of policy debate with a forecast on what’s likely to come through in the strategy.
Iceland, a UK supermarket chain, has announced that it intends to ban palm oil from all of its own brand products by the end of 2018. Such a move on palm oil is not a new idea: the EU has been toying with its own potential ban over the last year.
This week saw Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg launch the second phase of the work of the G20 Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. The report sets out a comprehensive framework to help a range of companies, from asset managers to the extractives industries, explain the potential impacts of climate change – and the efforts to tackle it – on their business. It also encourages them to set out how they are managing those processes. On Thursday, Global Counsel hosted Jane Stevensen, Task Force Engagement Director for the Carbon Disclosure Project who has spent the last year working closely with the Task Force, to discuss the implications of this landmark report.
US President-elect Donald Trump has wavered very little throughout his campaign in his stance on climate change – calling it a hoax and threatening to roll-back all regulations and funding supporting it. The Trump win in the midst of climate negotiations left many wondering just how far Trump would aim to take the US away from any and all climate action, including the Paris Agreement. Even with early indications seeming in favour of a strong Trump reversal – a Republican Congress and legal room to exit Paris – there may be stronger forces at play, both at home and abroad.