Maitland Green: Our weekly update – 21 April 2017
Global goings on
In a week of big announcements, the future of green business in the UK is up in the air as the upcoming general election could further delay Government promised green legislation along with delays on a much-needed framework for cross-border environmental relations. A surprising commitment to renewable energy came out of the world’s largest crude oil exporting country, as Saudi Arabia pledged up to $50bn for the development of renewables projects with the intent to help wean the kingdom off of their oil dependence. Tech giant Apple also came out with an incredibly ambitious goal of using only 100% recycled or renewable materials for their products, following their recent successes in achieving near 100% green goals elsewhere along their supply chain. After hearing many arguments for and against keeping the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement, the White House suggested that President Trump could make his final decision by late May. While the United States’ position as a green world leader remains in question, China has been cracking down on highly polluting shipping emissions in efforts to clean up the air and improve public health in cities near seaports.
The biggest UK general election concern for the green business community will likely be the possibility of further delays to Conservative promised green legislation. The Government’s Industrial Strategy is marked by an ambitious-yet-realistic decarbonisation agenda, in the shape of the proposed Clean Growth Plan, but it has yet to be published after several delays. Air quality and green investment are further areas of concern, with the green business community looking for a framework for future relations between the UK and the rest of the continent.
Edie, 19 April
Saudi Arabia is pledging $30 – $50 billion to develop thirty solar and wind projects over the next ten years to boost electricity generation and curb oil consumption, despite its status as the world’s largest crude oil exporter. In a press conference on Monday, energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said that the kingdom wants 10 percent of its electricity to come from renewables in the next six years. As part of the “Saudi Vision 2030” plan, Al-Falih claimed that the new projects would help Saudi Arabia to reach approximately 10 GW of renewable energy by 2023, thus helping to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil.
EcoWatch, 17 April
In their latest annual Environmental Responsibility Report, Apple announced an ambitious goal of operating on a closed-loop supply chain, thereby only building new products with renewable or recycled materials. Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson, claimed that the company has yet to materialize a full plan for how to reach their 100% renewable materials goal, saying “We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it.” However, the tech giant is already making great progress on achieving their previous green goals, with 99% recycled or responsibly sourced paper packaging, 96% renewable energy sourced for electricity use in their global facilities, and 17 out of 18 final assembly line facilities achieving zero landfill status.
BusinessGreen, 20 April
After receiving calls from oil, gas, and coal companies to remain a party to the Paris climate deal, President Trump, who promised to “cancel” the deal during the election campaign, has pushed back the date to decide on whether or not to leave the pact until possibly late May. Top White House officials are divided on the matter, with Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt and chief strategist Stephen Bannon arguing for an “exit”, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and close advisors Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kusher, remain supportive of the deal. At a minimum, Trump is likely to cut off Obama era contributions to the Green Climate Fund under the international accord, which allows wealthier developed countries to help developing nations adjust to climate change.
Washington Post, 19 April
Every year, over 60% of the world’s seaborne cargoes and 30% of the world’s shipping containers pass through seven of the world’s top ten ports in China, thus creating a problematic level of air pollution in cities, such as Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Shanghai. The country’s Domestic Emission Control Area (DECA) regulations force ships to use low-sulphur fuel that can drastically reduce pollution and health risks. Between April and November 2016, Shanghai’s enforcement agency inspected approximately 1,858 ships, caught 55 ships violating the rules and issued more than $100,000 (690,000 yuan) in penalties.
Climate Home, 20 April
Second Intergovernmental Consultations on UN Ocean Conference Call for Action
New York City, USA
Basel Convention COP13, Rotterdam Convention COP8 and Stockholm Convention COP8
24 April–05 May