Climate Change and Energy
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Terms of Reference
The Climate Change and Energy Working Party (CCEWP) seeks to influence and improve laws aimed at tackling climate change and promoting renewable energy. Our key priority areas currently are:
- The legal aspects of the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2008, particularly carbon budgets, the Climate Change Committee and the role of regulation in progressing towards targets
- Low carbon energy investment support, under the Electricity Market Reform, Feed-in Tariffs, Renewables Obligation, Renewable Heat Incentive and other instruments
- Energy efficiency policy, including the CRC energy efficiency scheme, particularly the regulatory and enforcement aspects and Climate Change Agreements
- Corporate reporting on carbon - what does this mean for business?
- Carbon capture and storage -watching brief
Given the broad scope of this area, our activities go beyond pure 'environment law' and into consideration of the policy behind the legislation (in particular, in relation to the carbon markets, emissions trading, energy security and broader energy market regulation). The input and assistance of specialists in other areas (e.g. financial services, tax) is also therefore welcomed.
Contact the convenors if you would like to join the group.
We will shortly be posting details of our next meeting.
Recent Events and Activities
The CCEWP is taking an active interest in the implications of Brexit for climate change and energy law. In August and September 2016 we submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee's ongoing inquiries into the implications for UK climate and energy policy on leaving the EU (available below, under Consultation Responses). Our Brexit page gives links to other papers and submissions that the group has produced or contributed to.
Paris COP21 climate conference
The CCEWP held a seminar jointly with the Government Legal Service Environment Group on the Paris COP21 climate conference, on 21 March 2016. The event gave the inside line on the negotiations from those that were present, together with an analysis of key provisions of the Paris Agreement, and what it means for carbon markets and renewables. It was chaired by the group's convenor Stephen Hockman QC and the speakers were:
- Caroline Ross, lawyer at the Department of Energy and Climate Change
- Christoph Schwarte, Executive Director Legal Response Initiative
- Francesco Sindico, Reader in International Environmental Law, University of Strathclyde
- Melanie Shanker, Managing Associate, Linklaters
The group also heard from Fran Lawson, barrister at 6 Pump Court Chambers, about COP21 and the Paris Agreement in the working party session at UKELA's annual conference in Brighton in July 2016.
The CCEWP is following issues around air pollution, in particular implementation of the EU Air Quality Framework Directive. The group heard about the London Air Quality case from Alan Andrews, lawyer at Client Earth, at UKELA's annual conference in Brighton in July 2016.
Onshore Oil & Gas Sector Regulation and Guidance
On 9 February 2016 members of the Climate Change and Energy Working Party attended a special presentation about regulation of onshore oil and gas, given by Mark Ellis-Jones of the Environment Agency. The event, held at King & Wood Mallesons, included a Q&A session on the Environment Agency's draft Guidance, which was the subject of an open consultation. UKELA submitted a formal written response to the consultation in March, available below (under 'Consultation Responses'). You can read the Agency's summary of all consultation responses here.
The Environment Agency issued finalised guidance in August 2016. It is available to view on Gov.UK here.
Fracking - the nitty gritty of the consent process
The CCEWP held a seminar on the consents needs for shale gas fracking on 23 September 2015 at Simmons & Simmons. The aim of an event was to take a detailed look at the consents needed for shale gas projects and to consider some of the potential problems with the consenting process.
The speakers were:
- Mark Ellis-Jones, Programme Executive - Onshore Oil & Gas Programme, Environment Agency
- Steve Danton, Associate Director Atkins
- Richard Mitchener, Atkins
- Jake White, Friends of the Earth
- Charles Morgan, 4-5 Gray's Inn Square
UK Electricity Market - Changes coming down the Wires
The CCEWP held a seminar on the UK electricity market on 13 November 2014 at Simmons & Simmons. The aim of an event was to give an overview of how the electricity market in the UK is currently structured and to discuss some of the changes that are being implemented as part of the electricity market review (EMR).
The speakers were:
- Eric Lewis - Audit Principal, Energy, Climate Change, and Sustainability, NAO.
- Mark Copley, Associate Partner, Wholesale electricity , Markets division, Ofgem.
- Peter Styles, Managing Director of Stratos European Policy Limited.
- John Feddersen, CEO Aurora Energy Research.
Seminar on Contracts for Difference
At the UKELA annual conference in Edinburgh in June 2014, Fiona Ross of Pinsent Masons gave an introduction to Contracts For Difference (CFDs). The session covered: the CFD counterparty – its role; legal framework of CFS – key points of the contract terms; the proposed allocation process; announcements of the strike prices and process for setting them.
Seminar comparing the UK and other EU member states' energy and climate policies
In March 2014, Brendan Devlin Advisor on internal market issues within the Energy Directorate of the European Commission and Peter Styles, Managing Director of Stratos European Policy Limited, discussed the differences between the UK and other member states' climate change and energy policies including:
- UK approaches to offshore wind.
- Interconnections with other Member States.
- Stakeholder management and related environmental issues.
Seminar on the Future of Carbon Markets, 21 October 2013
In October 2013, Chris Dodwell (Director of International Projects at Ricardo AEA, and former head of the UK delegation to the UNFCCC talks in Nairobi and Bali) and Melanie Shanker (Managing Associate in the Environment and Climate Change team of Linklaters LLP and previously in-house counsel at Climate Change Capital) discussed the future of carbon markets including:
- The direction of international negotiations.
- The future of the CDM.
- The proliferation of non UNFCCC related offsetting, and financing of current emissions reduction programmes.
UKELA Annual Conference 2013 - CCEWP session, 12-14 July 2013
Yuhong Zhao, Associate Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, and Research Fellow of the Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability gave an overview of China's actions to tackle climate change.
DECC Better Regulation Team Briefing
The Better Regulation team at DECC spoke to Working Party members on June 12th 2013 on what they are doing on energy and climate change regulation including the CRC simplification. The CCEWP is grateful to DECC for their briefing.
Seminar on the environmental implications of the Energy Bill, February 2013
The CCEWP held a seminar on the Environmental implications of the Energy Bill on 20 February 2013. Alexander Cooke, a lawyer in the Electricity Market Reform and Ofgem Review team at DECC, gave an insider’s view of what the government intends the Energy Bill will achieve and a comprehensive insight into some of the key provisions.
How is climate change regulation affected by economics and World Trade law?
The CCEWP held a mini conference in January 2013 featuring Dr Cameron Hepburn (Grantham Research Institute, LSE) and Francesco Sindico (Reader in International Environmental Law at the University of Strathclyde) on the topic of “How is climate change regulation affected by economics and World Trade law? What climate change mitigation policies could governments introduce that might achieve better results?”
Round-up of Climate Change Regulation
The CCEWP held a seminar on climate change and energy law on Wednesday 10 October 2012. Tom Bainbridge, Partner at Nabarro LLP and Becky Clissmann, Editor at the Practical Law Company (PLC) gave an overview of the following topics:
- CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC)
- Feed-in Tariffs (FITs)
- Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
- Renewables Obligation (RO)
- Electricity Market Reform (EMR)
Nigel Cornwall, founder of Cornwall Energy and expert in electricity and gas regulation gave an overview of how the Government’s climate change and energy policies fit within the electricity market.
UKELA Annual Conference 2012
A session on the theme of climate change and water scarcity took place at the UKELA conference in Southampton on 7 July. The speakers were:
- Trevor Daya-Winterbottom, Associate Dean: Research, Faculty of Law, University of Waikato, who spoke about water scarcity management issues arising in New Zealand
- David Symons, Director, WSP Environment & Energy who spoke about how a changing climate is causing water scarcity/unpredictable precipitation in the UK
- Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE, Executive Director of the Wye & Usk Foundation who spoke about the Severn Barrage project
Mini Conference on the Science, Law and Politics of Climate Change
The CCEWP held a very successful mini-conference on the Science, Law and Politics of Climate Change on 24 April 2012. A packed audience were treated to a distinguished panel of speakers from government, industry and academia with the keynote speech given by Lord Anthony Giddens, author of The Politics of Climate Change.