Greenpeace lost a case against the U.K. government and BP in Scotland's highest civil court, allowing BP to continue offshore drilling operations at the Vorlich site off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Drilling began at the site, located in the North Sea, in late 2020 at a rate of 20,000 barrels per day. The permit approved a total of 30 million barrels of oil (Bloomberg).
On June 3, the Bank of England (BoE)’s Governor, Andrew Bailey, stated the bank would seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions associated with running its physical offices and printing banknotes to net zero by 2050 “at the latest.” The decision is in line with a larger push by the United Kingdom to improve its climate action agenda ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), to be hosted by the country in Glasgow later this year (Reuters and
On April 1, the United Nations announced it would postpone this year’s climate change conference to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic (UNFCCC). The talks, originally to be held November 9-20 in Glasgow, mark the five-year deadline for countries to update their national climate targets according to the Paris Agreement of 2015.
On February 27, Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled against an $18 billion proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport, stating policymakers had failed to consider the U.K.’s climate change commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement when designing the project (AP News, Reuters, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/27/heathrow-third-runw…
On July 11, Britain's maritime minister announced that all new ships ordered from 2025 onwards and destined for its waters must be equipped with zero emission technology in an effort to curb maritime pollution. The new requirements are part of the Clean Maritime Plan that includes a competition to find innovative ways to reduce maritime emissions and a call for evidence to reduce emissions in the United Kingdom's (UK's) waterways and on its domestic vessels.
The United Kingdom (UK) government is proposing to amend its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, which was agreed to under the Climate Change Act in 2008, to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The net zero target was recommended last month by the government's advisory Committee on Climate Change. According to the committee, there is a 50-50 chance of staying below the recommended 1.5°C temperature rise by 2100 if the UK and other countries achieve the target. For the full story, see https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48596775.
The United Kingdom has created 41 new marine conservation zones, ranging from Studland Bay near Bournemouth to the Goodwin Sands off the Deal coast in Kent. The newly-protected areas will cover 4,633 square miles of marine habitat, bringing the total number of marine protected areas around the British coastline to 355. Among the species and habitats that will benefit from the new protections are the short-snouted seahorse, the ocean quahog, ross worm reefs, and blue mussel beds. Each zone will be managed according to the requirements of marine life and local residents, including fishermen.
The High Court has ruled unlawful aspects of the UK government's national planning policy concerning fracking. The court found that the government failed to take into account scientific developments that called into question whether gas was considered a low-carbon fuel source before adopting the planning policy. The ruling suggests that gas from fracking might not be considered a low-carbon fuel source, which could hamper attempts to expand fracking around the country.
The UK's secretary of state for international development, Penny Mordaunt, has pledged to contribute £2.1m to tackle the underlying causes of the illegal wildlife trade and protect critically endangered Sumatran tigers and west African chimpanzees. The funding will help create sustainable jobs and livelihoods for local communities in Africa and Southeast Asia, and provide them with a financial alternative to hunting wildlife and clearing forests that are essential to the species' long-term survival.
Last week, in a series of moves related to air quality, the European Commission proposed measures to help member states combat air pollution. The Commission also referred France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the EU Court of Justice for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. In addition, it referred Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter.