As a response to the Covid-19 crisis the EU has agreed on a historic recovery package of 750€ Billion, which includes funds for EU member states. In order to apply for financial support, EU member states need to provide Recovery and Resilience Plans. They may take into consideration country-specific recommendations, developed annually to address macroeconomic imbalance issues among EU Member States as identified within the European Semester.
In the last year, the German government held intense and controversial discussions on the introduction and design of national due diligence regulation. However, environmental aspects of corporate due diligence were given little attention. By contrast, the debate at European level is already much more progressive. On January 27, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament explicitly recommended the inclusion of independent environmental due diligence requirements in a future European due diligence legislation.
To this date, environmental due diligence has hardly been integrated into legislations and it is not yet as concrete as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are in regard to human rights concerning responsibilities of corporations. Human rights due diligence captures environmental destruction when it is directly linked to human rights violation like a toxic spillage, which directly causes death or health issues.
The Coronavirus pandemic has delayed the collection of evidence in the trial between the Peruvian farmer Saúl Luciano Lliuya and the German utility RWE at the Upper State Court in Hamm (Germany). Nevertheless, a new scientific study is providing credence to the legal claim: a prestigious team of researchers has used climate models to demonstrate that the risk of glacial lake flooding affecting the city of Huaraz is almost entirely due to anthropogenic climate change.
In addition to amplifying extreme weather events, climate change also causes or intensifies slow-onset processes such as sea-level rise, desertification, biodiversity loss or permafrost thaw. Both types of climate change impacts cause loss and damage, impede the enjoyment of human rights and can be drivers for human mobility. In contrast to extreme weather events, dealing with loss and damage caused by slow-onset processes in the context of climate change is still neglected, both at the national and international level.
The Global Climate Risk Index 2021 analyses to what extent countries and regions have been affected by impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves etc.). The most recent data available — for 2019 and from 2000 to 2019 — were taken into account. The countries and territories affected most in 2019 were Mozambique, Zimbabwe as well as the Bahamas. For the period from 2000 to 2019 Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti rank highest.
Bonn/Berlin (25th Jan. 2021). Vulnerable people in developing countries suffer most from extreme weather events like storms, floods and heat waves, while the impacts of climate change are visible around the globe. Being the deadliest and costliest tropical cyclone in the South-West Indian Ocean, tropical Cyclone Idai was labelled “one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in the history of Africa” by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The European Union has set itself the target to become climate neutral by 2050. Rail could play a key role in the future transport system because it is clean, safe and reliable, and it could become a symbol for the European Green Deal. A strengthened European rail system could (1) better connect people and businesses in Europe, (2) reduce transport emissions by creating alternative options to road transport and aviation, and (3) give a green boost to the European economy post-Covid-19.
For months, there has been an intensive and controversial debate in Germany on a Human Rights Due Diligence Regulation (so called supply chain law). Recently, a new proposal has been under discussion - a law for a supply chain register. Now that the debate on the supply chain register is public and this proposal has also been submitted to EU Justice Commissioner Reynders, Germanwatch, Greenpeace and INKOTA hereby publicly present their central points of criticism of the supply chain register.
The European Commission is focusing on hydrogen from renewable electricity, to accelerate the decarbonization of the various sectors and to achieve climate neutrality in 2050. What does this mean for the future of energy imports from Russia, currently the largest supplier of natural gas to the European Union? A chance, the authors of this background article find, and elaborate on challenges and first steps on how to leverage this opportunity.