Citizen Climate Change Law Suit (the Netherlands)

Verdict of the District Court in The Hague (24th June 2015) finds in favour of plaintiff claim for action on the part of the Dutch Government to reduce the Netherlands contribution to climate change emissions. Specifically, the Government is tasked to reduce emissions by at least 25% within five years, whereas it hitherto had committed to reduce by 14-17% from 1990 levels by 2020.

The legal action was taken by the Urgenda Foundation and 900 co-plaintiffs (citizens) – information published by the Urgenda Foundation about this case, including the verdict text, is here. It is an action founded in human rights and tort law, and publicised as a first civil liability suit in the area of climate change.

Governments in the autumn are called to meet in Paris (November 30 to December 11) for COP21, CMP11 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Paris will be the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP 11) to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Leadership of the negotiations is yet to be determined.

Sustainable Development Bills (Wales)

Three new Bills (prospective Acts) are planned for enactment by the Welsh Assemby Government of Wales (a part of the UK). 

(1) Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill

(2) Environment (Wales) Bill

(3) Planning (Wales) Bill

A short description is found here.

More detail about the Well-being Bill is set out here.

More detail about the Environment Bill is set out here.

More detail about the Planning Bill is set out here.

I will comment again when (and if) progress is made on these Bills. If (and when) enacted subscribers to Cardinal Tailored EHS Legislation Registers will have the laws loaded into their systems.

Glyphosate (UK) Regulatory Query

UPDATE (June 2016) : The European Commission has adopted an eighteen month extension of its current approval. 

Press Release is here.

The legal position (set out below) in the UK is unchanged. Please note : some Local Authorities may trial alternatives for use in parks and gardens (eg Bristol).

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Glyophosate is regulated in the UK as a pesticide. Under European Union (EU) rules, pesticides are only approved for use if a scientific assessment has identified no unacceptable risks to people or the environment. The EU current approval of glyphosate expires on 31st December 2015.

The matter of health risks being created by use of glyphosate was raised in a recent assessment by the World Health Organisation’s latest review of cancer risks of this chemical (a main ingredient of the popular herbicide Roundup).

UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) responded on 29th April 2015 as follows to a Freedom of Request:

“As part of the review of glyphosate, the regulatory authority responsible for pesticides in Germany (BfR) has assessed the relevant data to see if EU approval can continue from 2016. BfR’s assessment has been circulated to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and to all EU Member States for critical review. EFSA published the assessment on its website in March 2014 for a two month public consultation and has co-ordinated a peer review, conducted in February 2015. This involved all Member States’ pesticides regulatory authorities, European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, and it’s expert advisors.

EFSA is in the process of drawing up its findings in a formal conclusion, which will be sent to the Commission for consideration. In light of this conclusion, a decision will be taken either to renew the approval of glyphosate or not. If approval is renewed, products which contain the active substance will be separately re-assessed at Member State level, to confirm that they too continue to meet the required standards of safety.

If approval is not renewed, glyphosate products will be withdrawn from the market.

In the work carried out so far under the EU review, glyphosate has been judged not to show an ability to cause cancer in humans. In addition, predicted exposures from authorised uses of glyphosate were found to be within acceptable limits for all aspects of human health.”

The full text is here.

Shipping MRV Regulation (EU)

The Shipping MRV Regulation is a new European Regulation (EU) 2015/757 on the monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport. It applies to shipping activities carried out from 1st January 2018. 

From that date, companies must monitor and report the verified amount of carbon dioxide emitted by their large ships (above 5,000 gross tons) on voyages to, from and between ports in European Union countries. Companies must also provide certain other aggregated annual information, such as data to determine the ships’ energy efficiency. A valid document of compliance issued by an independent verifier has to be carried on board, relating to the shipping activities falling under the MRV Regulation in the previous year.

The European Regulation is found here.