The European Union has taken a positive, but half-hearted, step towards cleaning up Europe’s trade in minerals. EU legislators concluded their negotiations on a new law on so-called ‘conflict minerals’—a Regulation which is meant to ensure that minerals entering the EU do not finance conflict or human rights violations. Certain EU companies will, for the first time, be legally required to take responsibility for their mineral supply chains and to take steps to prevent their trade being linked to conflict or human rights abuses. However, a string of concessions and last-minute loopholes could undermine the Regulation’s impact, as they exempt a large number of companies from the law.
With the historic Paris Agreement having recently entered into force, this year’s Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2017 confirms a boost for renewable energy and positive developments in energy efficiency. While these encouraging trends are happening on a global scale, the necessary energy revolution is still happening too slowly. Jan Burck, Germanwatch, key author of the CCPI comments: "The conditions for a global energy revolution have never been better. Due to the falling costs of renewable energy and efficiency technologies, national governments have no more excuses not to enshrine the Paris Agreement into national law."
The Development and Environment NGO Germanwatch considers Germany's new 2050 Decarbonisation Plan published today a significant first step of Germany implementing the Paris Agreement. The plan by the German Federal Government comes after one and a half a years of intensive inter-ministerial negotiations, a stakeholder process and vigorous public debate. Germany is the first country to adopt a detailed long-term decarbonisation plan.
Africa is the continent that was hit hardest by extreme weather events in 2015. According to the 12th edition of the Global Climate Risk Index, four out of the ten most impacted countries globally are African: Mozambique (Rank 1), Malawi (Rank 3), Ghana and Madagascar (both Rank 8). "Especially flooding affected the hosting continent of this year's climate summit", says Germanwatch's Sönke Kreft, main author of the Index. Heat waves claimed most lives last year. More than 4,300 deaths in India and more than 3,300 deaths in France show that both developing and developed countries are impacted by extraordinary temperatures. Kreft: "Increases in heavy precipitation, flooding and heatwaves are to be expected in a warming world."
The Federation of German Industries (BDI), Germanwatch and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) are gathering forces to urge the G20 countries to introduce carbon pricing as a means to achieve the climate goals set forth in the Paris Agreement. The unusual alliance between an industry association, an environmental organization and a research institute seeks to drive ambitious climate protection, create more predictability for planning, promote fair competition and secure the necessary investments.
The G20 needs to make more effort to move to a green, low-carbon economy, especially in the areas of coal power expansion and climate policy, but is beginning to head in the right direction. This is the key result of a comprehensive assessment of G20 climate action, released in Beijing today ahead of the G20 summit in China this weekend. The report, “Brown to Green: Assessing the G20 transition to a low-carbon economy” has been produced by Climate Transparency, and written by a range of international experts and was launched at a press conference in Beijing.
Representing RWE, the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has filed its first response to a civil suit filed by the Peruvian small-scale farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya. The german firm denies responsibility for climate change impacts in the Peruvian Andes. In the written statement, the lawyers claim that RWE has no liability under German civil law. The claimant Saúl Luciano Lliuya expected such a reaction and is determined to pursue his case at the Essen Regional Court (Germany) in a hearing this autumn with his Hamburg lawyer Dr. Roda Verheyen: “RWE needs to take responsibility for its emissions. We in Peru have hardly made any contribution to climate change, but we live with the worst consequences.”
The millennium started with a lost decade in terms of climate protection and, as indicated in the eleventh edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), global emissions were still growing in 2013. For 2014, there are signs of a slowdown or even a halt of this trend.
Serbia, Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina were the countries most impacted by climatic events in 2014. This is the result of this year’s Global Climate Risk Index, launched today by Germanwatch at the climate summit in Paris. "Heavy rains, flooding and landslides have been the defining hazards of the new Global Climate Risk Index", said Sönke Kreft, author of the study and Team Leader for International Climate Policy at Germanwatch. "Patterns of extreme precipitation is what people and countries will likely face in a warming climate."
Today, the Peruvian farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya is filing a lawsuit against the German utility RWE at the Regional Court in Essen, Germany. The reason: The energy company’s immense emissions threaten his family, his property as well as a large part of his home city of Huaraz. Climate change has caused the glacial lake to quickly grow in size, making it a risk for the Andean city of 120,000.