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Tim Baines is a partner in the London environmental and planning team of Mayer Brown. Tim has a particular interest and background in advising companies and financial institutions in the real estate, energy and sustainability sectors. He has considerable knowledge of UK planning and environmental regimes, renewables incentives regimes, and emissions and climate-related matters.

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Most UK climate litigation concerns challenges to the decisions of public authorities on projects with environmental effects or policies being adopted by Government that can have significant impacts on the environment.

A series of five recent decisions in the courts – all of which have rejected challenges based on climate grounds – show that the UK courts are extremely reluctant to call into question the decisions of national or local public authorities in the case of individual projects.  However, as we will see, there is room for challenges to be successful in limited circumstances which we consider below.Continue Reading A Wrap-Up of Recent UK Climate Change Litigation

As we alluded to in our pre-COP video (which you can watch here), the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement will be concluded at COP28.  Although it is an important milestone in terms of establishing a comprehensive picture of what has been achieved since the Paris Agreement was entered into and what remains to be done, discussions appear to be fraught.  Clearly, an exercise of this kind allows for the re-opening of old wounds around substantive matters such as how to share responsibility for mitigation efforts.  On this theme, at the opening ceremony, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell, urged participants to signal the decline of the fossil fuel industry.  Current expectations are that decisions in this regard will be in the context of the Global Stocktake. Continue Reading COP28 Insights Mini-Series – Part 2

This mini Q&A series will follow COP28, providing you with a quick and easy way to stay informed as the discussion evolves. Our coverage will highlight significant and recent developments from a legal perspective, allowing you to assess the impact of these on your business. 

In this video, Tim Baines (Environmental partner, London, and founding

On 28 November 2023, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) published its “Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (“SDR“) and investment labels” policy statement (PS23/16) (the “Policy Statement“). The Policy Statement introduces a set of new rules aimed at tackling greenwashing, including investment product sustainability labels and restrictions on how terms

The European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA“) has today published three useful explanatory notes covering key topics of the European sustainable finance framework, namely: a) the definition of “sustainable investments”; b) the application of do no significant harm (“DNSH“) principle; and c) the use of estimates.

The explanatory notes set out

What is a taxonomy anyway?

The EU’s “Taxonomy” is a classification framework that determines whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable.  

Under EU legislation, “large” EU companies will soon need to report on their taxonomy “alignment” as part of their mandatory sustainability disclosures.  This means, at risk of oversimplifying, reporting on the extent to which

Our international ESG team has been keeping an eye on what’s going on with regards to green taxonomies. With so much activity already this year, we summarize some of the key developments below.

EU

We recently published this reminder of the EU’s taxonomy framework. Our publication is particularly relevant to non-EU groups with large subsidiaries

UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced a major U-turn on the UK’s “net zero” policies.  This amounts to 3 key policy changes:

  • Electric vehicles – 3 years after announcing a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, the ban has been delayed to 2035;
  • New exceptions to ban on sale of new domestic gas boilers from 2035 – although the ban on the sale of new gas boilers from 2035 remains, new exceptions will be introduced to help poorer households, although the details are to follow.  The sale of oil, LPG and coal boilers for off-grid homes is to be delayed to 2035;
  • Tougher EPC requirements to be scrapped – from 2025, no residential property was to be let unless it achieved a “C” rating for energy efficiency.  This has been scrapped.  Mr Sunak said that this could have led to a requirement to invest around £8,000 per property.  No announcements were made regarding commercial properties.

The changes have met with a mixed response, with some commentators highly critical of Mr Sunak’s U-turn, warning that introducing uncertainty could severely undermine investor confidence in the UK.Continue Reading UK rolls back “net zero” ambitions, carbon offsets face renewed attack and the spotlight falls (again) on policing carbon markets

The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD“) entered into force on 5 January 2023 and the associated European Sustainability Reporting Standards (“ESRS“) were adopted by the European Commission on 31 July 2023. Together, the CSRD and ESRS create detailed sustainability reporting requirements that will apply to a significant number of EU and non-EU companies and substantially increase the scope of their sustainability reporting.

Application of the rules is now imminent and, for some, CSRD reporting periods will begin from 1 January 2024.

In this update, we take a look at the implications of the CSRD for non-EU companies and what companies can do to prepare.Continue Reading The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive is upon us – what non-EU companies should know and do