The EU should take away the knife from Russia: salami tactics and Nord Stream 2

Claudia Iris Comandini

Imagine February 2023 Ukraine is surrounded by four battalions of troops. Gusts of wind are blowing so fiercely that even the heavy tactical gears worn by Russian soldiers seem like rice paper umbrellas. One could count 175.000 heads deployed on ground and sea, if there was any other than a civilian out there to actually give testimony. The war had been announced and more than ever Ukraine was on the verge of witnessing how the European Union had not kept its promises of being a beacon of democracy. 

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A ‘Green New Deal’: politics and prospects 

Samuel Teale Chadwick 

Inflation in the price of natural gas is set to increase the average household energy bill by hundreds of pounds in the spring. A ‘Green New Deal’ has the potential to increase domestic energy capacity and affordability, as well as achieving the government’s target of sourcing all electricity from renewable and nuclear sources by 2035. However, a long term plan appears absent from the political agenda.

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Carboeconomics, ESG Investments, Green Finance: A Cocoon of Confusion and Implementation Challenges

Shresth Goel and Talvin Bath

Introduction

Sustainable investing is being prioritized by financial institutions across the world following international agreements on the urgency of addressing climate change. Finance executives have been at the forefront of getting creative with green financing through the utilization of financial instruments, both new and old. Inevitably, market sensitivity to green technology has increased quickly, but with cautious skepticism from some. 

Our focus is on the implementation challenges of these methods and their macroeconomic impacts. Generally speaking, the issue at hand is one of excess capital in a relatively young market without the levels of scrutiny received by previous landmark shifts in the market. This problem is exacerbated by a supply-demand mismatch in terms of market investors and reliable investment opportunities. With multiple competitive firms operating in the same sphere – chasing the same resources – failure of some is inevitable. Overbidding on a select few reliable opportunities may lead to underwhelming (but realistic) returns, leading to broad market corrections in the future, with drastic short and long-term effects. [1] [2]

Green enterprises are also heavily reliant on fossil fuels to develop green infrastructure in the first place. The ongoing energy shortage suggests delays in meeting time-bound climate goals, thus indicating potential problems with the timely realization of economic returns. 

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Net Zero 2050: How the UK can get Oil & Gas on Track

David Vergara Schleich, Tanya Lim, and Jenny Su

Introduction and Current Policies

In preparation for the 2021 COP 26 Conference in Glasgow, the United Kingdom (UK) published an ambitious white paper entitled “Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener” in which it outlines policies to achieve a greenhouse gas (GHG) neutral economy by 2050.1 This makes the UK the first country to implement a legally binding timeline. In line with this strategy, the Government aims to mobilize up to £270 billion in public and private sector funds to transition the Power and Energy sector.2 Crucially, instead of viewing the Oil and Gas sector as an impediment to GHG neutrality, the Government envisions the sector to play a leading role in the energy transition .4 As part of the Net Zero Strategy, the relevant UK regulatory body , the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), has echoed the urgency to achieve GHG neutrality. In its “Revised Strategy”, the OGA warned that it would exercise its punitive powers should companies fail to comply with the timeline.5 Thus, the objectives of the government’s Net Zero Strategy are two-fold: in political-environmental terms, it is to achieve GHG neutrality to curb climate change and position the UK as a global paragon in environmental governance; secondly, it seeks to walk the fine line between incentivizing and coercing the Oil and Gas sector to accelerate its transition towards carbon neutrality and beyond 2050, towards renewable energies. 

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What role can International Organisations play in cultivating a greener economy for developing nations?

Alainah Amer, Anahita Roy and Taqi Shah

Introduction

Establishing a greener economy within developing nations is an up and coming topic in policymaking, environment, and economics. The natural foundations that many developing economies possess could be utilised to produce economic benefits is appealing. But before introducing the potential benefits as well as potential drawbacks of encouraging green growth in these countries, it is important to define what a green economy is. Essentially a green economy possesses healthy characteristics such as “low carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive” environment (United Nations Environment Programme, 2018, p.1). A green economy contributes to an increase in employment and revenue as a result of investment from both the public and private sectors into economic activities that allow for reduced carbon emissions, green and efficient energy, preservation of biodiversity and the ecosystem as a whole (United Nations Environment Programme, 2018, p.1). 

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Strengthening Climate Policy in China’s Private Sector

At the UN conference in September 2020, President Xi Jinping announced that China will “have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060”. Details of how this target will be achieved will probably not be released until the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) is announced. Nonetheless, if China fully implements a strategy to reach this goal, it will have massive implications for reaching the global 1.5 degrees Celsius target. This is because China accounts for the highest percentage of CO2 emissions worldwide, with Chinese power plants burning 25% of the world’s coal reserves and with renewable energy output only accounting for 9% of the country’s total energy [1]. Paradoxically, despite its massive energy consumption, it is also the largest producer of solar and wind energy and the leading investor in clean energy technologies worldwide [2]. Not only does China have 47% of all electric cars in the global market [3], it also refines four-fifths of the world’s supply of cobalt, an essential component in lithium ion batteries, the most common storage of clean electricity [4]. In addition to investment and manufacturing of sustainable energy technology and following several regional pilot emissions trading schemes (ETS), the Chinese government implemented a National Emissions Trading Scheme (NETS) in 2017 and enforced it in 2020, initially covering 2,267 power plants [5]. 

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Neither local nor global communities can afford the carelessness of Britain’s High Speed 2 Project

The 31-day tunnel protests beside Euston station have come to a close, after activists excavated and occupied underground networks to hinder the construction of an interim taxi rank – which will be built to adapt the Euston area for High Speed 2 (HS2) railway construction. Reports of the tunnel occupation are the newest of dotted media coverage that reminds us of the relentless opposition this controversial project has faced. The site the activists defended for a month is the only forested haven along the Euston Road – a place where ‘breathing is a risk’, having been frequently awarded the title of ‘one of the most polluted roads in Britain’ for exceeding legal pollution levels staggeringly for years. HS2 threatens this small park and patch of time-worn London planes trees, who will have witnessed the unfolding of this area of the city’s cultural and social history. They have been decorated symbolically with colourful scarfs for years, tied around their sturdy trunks to show visual opposition to the felling they have been threatened with – like preemptive bandages to coming, indelible wounds.  

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Event Review: International Climate Policy in the Global South

On 18th February 2021 the Energy and Environment Policy Centre at King’s Think Tank and King’s College London Climate Action society hosted a panel discussion on international climate policy and loss and damage in the Global South as a part of the policy centre’s theme for this semester “Governance and the environmental emergency: who takes accountability?”. The event took place as part of King’s College London’s university-wide Sustainability Month. 

Environmental inequality, injustice and disproportionate climate-related impacts in the Global South are accelerating in tangent with climate breakdown, causing irreparable loss and damage in the world’s least developed countries (LDCs). This event explored the environmental injustice and inequality that the Global South faces, and the relevance of loss and damage schemes in international climate policy as a coping mechanism and means of compensation and justice for LDCs.

To discuss these important issues, we had the honour of welcoming Dr. Ian Fry, Ambassador for Climate Change and Environment for the Government of Tuvalu; Ms. Hadika Jamshaid, Climate Change specialist supporting the Ministry of Climate Change for the Government of Pakistan; and Dr. Guy Jackson, postdoctoral fellow at Lund University who carried out the project Recasting the Disproportionate Impacts of Climate Change Extremes.

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The power of reforestation: An interview with Felix Finkbeiner from Plant-for-the-Planet

In 2007, 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner founded the organization Plant-for-the-Planet and his goal became to plant as many trees as he could to advocate for climate mitigation. Only three years later, the organization celebrated with planting their one millionth tree. The slogan ‘Stop Talking, Start Planting’ became a social media success as young people all around the world drew attention to the importance of planting trees. In 2011 the UN General Assembly handed the Trillion Tree Campaign to Plant-for-the-Planet. The world currently has three trillion trees and can host a trillion more. Trees are powerful in combating climate change, so the Trillion Trees Campaign is important in buying time to reduce CO2 emissions. Partner organizations all around the world are committed to this campaign and until now 14 billion trees in over 130 countries have been planted. The aim is to repopulate areas with trees and to work towards a carbon neutral world. Restoring deforested areas and allowing for forests to take back its natural habitat. 

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Greening the World Trade Organization: five priorities for EU foreign policy

The need to integrate climate and trade agendas

Today, humans have collectively come to constitute a geological force that undermines the very natural balances that have preempted the growth of civilization and the triumph of human nature itself, giving rise to an era of anthropogenic climate change. Human activity has already been responsible for a 1.0ºC increase over pre-industrial levels. It is widely recognized that an increase over 1.5ºC will cause irreversible harm to both human and natural ecosystems, with more extreme and variable weather events, resource scarcity, sea-level rise, biodiversity loss, economic recessions and global conflicts. 

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