NYC 2050 Climate Emissions Plan (US – New York City)

New York City (Mayor) has committed to reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% over 2005 levels by 2050.

This commitment starts with One City, Built to Last: Transforming New York City’s Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future – a plan to retrofit public and private buildings. Every single public building with significant energy use will be upgraded by 2025; private buildings will be given ambitious target reductions and mandates if reductions are not met.

The Plan will lead to an additional 10% reduction in building-based greenhouse gas emissions.

New York is the largest US city to commit to the 80 percent reduction by 2050.

The press release of the NYC Office of the Mayor is here.

London (UK) Mayor commitment is:
* achieving a 60% reduction in London’s CO2 by 2025
* ensuring 25% of London’s energy is delivered through more efficient decentralised energy by 2025
* improving the energy efficiency of London’s homes and buildings
* reducing emissions from transport

Further information (London) is here.

Port Operator Crew Fatalities (UK – Scotland)

23 September 2014: in the Edinburgh High Court, Clydeport Operations Limited, owned by Peel Ports Limited, admitted breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, that had resulted in the death of three tug boat crew members.

The company accepted that between 29 December 2000 and 19 December 2007 there had been a systemic failure in risk assessments and safe systems of work. The company was fined £650,000.

The tug operator Svitzer Marine Limited had previously admitted to proximate cause of the deaths.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) took over the maritime element of the investigation from Strathclyde Police, once it was determined that the deaths were not suspicious. However, the investigation remained under the control of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. The MCA found that there were also shortcomings in the application of the Port Marine Safety code in that neither the company secretary, nor the operations/human resources director, received training to adequately fulfil their role as the designated person with responsibility to ensure health and safety.

Sentencing at the High Court in Edinburgh on 29 September the judge, Lord Kinclaven, said:

The charges are severally and jointly very serious and extended for a long period of time, from 2000 to 2007.

Captain Jeremy Smart, Head of Enforcement at the MCA, said:

This was a tragic event and the MCA would like to express its sincere condolences to the families involved, who have endured a very difficult number of years. The investigation highlighted some very serious shortcomings in Clydeport Operations Limited’s safety management.

The MCA Press Release is here.

California Plastic Bag Ban (US – California)

First U.S. statewide ban on single-use plastic bags – California’s Senate Bill 270 entered into law on 30 September 2014.

California Senate Bill 270 is found here.

This legislation prohibits large grocery stores from carrying single-use bags starting in July 2015, expanding to smaller stores the year after. It also allows businesses to charge 10-cent fees to provide customers with reusable or paper bags.

More than 100 cities and counties, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, already have their own plastic bag bans.

My May 2014 blog on UK plastic bag levies is here.

Planning (Wales) Bill (UK – Wales)

The Bill addresses 5 key objectives:

* a modernised framework for the delivery of planning services – the Bill will allow planning applications to be made directly to Welsh Ministers in limited circumstances
* strengthening the plan led approach – the Bill will introduce a legal basis for the preparation of a National Development Framework and Strategic Development Plans
* improved resilience – the Bill will allow the Welsh Ministers to direct local planning authorities to work together and for local planning authorities to be merged
* frontloading and improving the development management system – the Bill will introduce a statutory pre application procedure for defined categories of planning application
* enabling effective enforcement and appeals – the Bill will make changes to enforcement procedures to secure prompt, meaningful action against breaches of planning control and increase the transparency and efficiency of the appeal system.

The Bill is set out in 8 Parts and 7 Schedules. Building on and amending existing primary legislation, the principal provisions are contained in the following sections:

Development Planning
Applications for Welsh Ministers
Development Management
Enforcement and Appeals
Town and Village Greens

Progress on the Planning (Wales) Bill, the Bill itself, and supporting documents, are found here.

New CITB Competence in Construction Research Report

The Competence in Construction Research Report was commissioned by the UK Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), with the support of Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The report highlights the need for:
* agreement on an industry-wide competence framework to bring much-needed clarity
* a wider understanding of competence at all levels
* further work to define a more-effective means of presenting evidence of competence

The report, which builds on the influential 2011 publication Routes to Competence, finds that the construction industry has made significant progress in health and safety over the past 14 years. It concludes that:

* it is now time to expand understanding of competence in all aspects of construction work – job role, health and safety, human factors, and managerial and organisational capability
* training on its own is not sufficient to be confident of competence – It must be supported by verification and refreshed at appropriate intervals.
* the competence of even the most highly-expert individual can be undermined if elements of managerial or organisational competence are lacking.

Further information, including the report itself is found here.

EU 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies

23 October 2014: EU leaders agreed the domestic 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target of at least 40% compared to 1990 – together with the other main building blocks of the 2030 policy framework for climate and energy – as proposed by the European Commission in January 2014.

This 2030 policy framework also sets a target of at least 27% for renewable energy and energy savings by 2030.

Current targets are known as the “20-20-20” targets.

Three key objectives for 2020:
* a 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels;
* raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%;
* a 20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency.

These targets are enacted through the climate and energy package (a set of EU laws) in 2009.

The EU is also offering to increase its emissions reduction to 30% by 2020 if other major economies in the developed and developing worlds commit to undertake their fair share of a global emissions reduction effort. The European Commission has published a Communication analysing the options for moving beyond a 20% reduction by 2020 and assessing the risk of “carbon leakage“.

Further information on the EU 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy is found here.