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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance


Accelerating action towards combating climate change

The COP26 summit, hosted by the UK, in partnership with Italy on 1-12 November 2021, will bring together 197 countries to accelerate action towards combating climate change by stabilising emissions of greenhouse gases.

The US climate envoy, John Kerry, describes the summit as "the last best chance to avert environmental disaster". The themes and related topics for COP26 include Adaptation and Resilience, Nature, Energy Transition, Clean Rod Transport and Finance and the Future of Cities. Climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy are top of the political agenda, but these issues also present a range of challenges for businesses. We are helping our clients to future-proof their businesses and identify the risks and opportunities presented by COP26.

COP26: Nature-based solutions to climate change

COP26 – the United Nations' 26th conference on climate change is expected to focus not only on the global climate crisis, but also to highlight the interconnected loss of biodiversity. These issues will have a huge impact on all of us – including businesses. At a recent Clifford Chance event, a panel of experts discussed nature-based solutions and the crucial role nature plays in combating climate change and sustaining national economies, as well as examining how state and private sector nature-based solutions could be financed. Read more about COP26: Nature-based solutions to climate change.

ESG Trends: What the latest Paris Agreement commitments mean for U.S. climate policy

With COP26 (the United Nations climate change talks) fast approaching, the U.S. has announced its new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. The announcement was made at the President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate, a virtual gathering of world leaders and representatives of civil society and the private sector, aimed at raising global ambition on climate action. The new NDC, along with a bundle of climate-focused government policies announced this week, are the Biden Administration’s latest efforts to reestablish the U.S. as a global leader on climate in the aftermath of the country’s official withdrawal from the Paris Agreement under the Trump Administration. With the U.S having rejoined the Paris Agreement in February 2021, the announcements are a crucial step in rebuilding America's credibility on climate. Read more about What the latest Paris Agreement commitments mean for U.S. climate policy.

Implications of President Biden's plan to combat climate change

During his campaign to be elected as President of the United States, Joe Biden set out an ambitious climate plan which, among other things, calls for a goal of net-zero emissions in the U.S. by 2050 and actively combating climate change. Below, we have outlined the implications of the Climate Plan for the U.S. and the international community under the new Biden-Harris Administration. Read more about the implications of President Biden's plan to combat climate change.

European Commission proposes Net Zero Climate Law

The European Commission has published its proposed 'European climate law' setting a binding EU target of net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. The proposal also provides for the Commission to review its current 2030 climate targets and includes a controversial power allowing the Commission to set a trajectory for emissions reductions from 2030 to 2050. This law will entail the strengthening of renewable energy, energy efficiency and interconnection targets and will lead to the introduction of more stringent measures at EU and national level designed to cut emissions. This briefing considers the detail of the proposal. Read more about the European Commission proposes Net Zero Climate Law.


UK sets ambitious new 2030 climate target ahead of UN Summit

The UK Government has announced a new target to reduce the UK's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% (up from 53%) by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The new target would be incorporated into the UK's forthcoming revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement. This target reflects the independent Climate Change Committee's advice on net zero. However, in line with NDC practice this target does not include emissions from international aviation and shipping.  The Government has confirmed its intention that achievement of targets under the revised NDC would be met by domestic action in the UK, and not through use of international credits. Read more about how the UK Sets Ambitious New 2030 Climate Target Ahead of UN Summit.


Previous events: COP26 Perspectives Series

The series sheds light on the history and context of the annual UN COP climate change discussions, explores what we can expect this year both in and outside the formal meetings, and how policy outcomes may translate into practical implications and opportunities for global businesses.

  • The challenges of energy transition – June 2021

    What are the challenges facing the implementation of the energy transition needed to limit climate change in line with the 2016 Paris Agreement? In this webinar, our panel considered these challenges from a range of different perspectives, and shared their thoughts on how to achieve the pace and breadth of change required. Click here to access a recording of this session.

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  • China's opening-up and green agenda – June 2021

    China's 14th five-year plan suggests that the country will remain committed to sustainable development over the next five years. In this session we discussed China's Green agenda, what China's Green commitments mean for business and how the increasing foreign ownership of Chinese assets will help introduce the international standards on ESG. Click here to access a recording of this session.

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  • Trade and climate change – June 2021

    Businesses are increasingly seeking opportunities to reduce the emissions intensity of their supply chains in order to achieve net zero targets. At the same time, governments are exploring a range of domestic and international policy options for accelerating the transition to a more sustainable economy – particularly in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow. Our panel explored some of the barriers faced by businesses seeking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and the role that international trade and regulatory policy can play in alleviating these barriers. Click here to access a recording of this session.

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  • Nature-based solutions – May 2021

    In this webinar, Martin Berg, Head of Natural Capital Impact Strategy at HSBC Pollination; Robert Spencer, Business Line Director, ESG at AECOM Europe; and Clifford Chance lawyers Roger Leese, Deborah Zandstra, Daniel Drabkin and Lily Marcel looked at nature-based solutions and the crucial role that nature plays, not only in combating climate change, but also in sustaining healthy life, nutritious diets and national economies. Click here to access a recording of this session.

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ESG: Trends to watch in 2021

The new Biden Administration, COP26, a renewed push from China on climate change and a focus on how we build back better post COVID-19 means that 2021 is going to be the biggest year yet for ESG – environmental, social and governance issues. Here we explore some of the key trends to watch.

Find out more about ESG: Trends to watch in 2021

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