Chinese researchers accelerate pine tree growth, plus learning about carbon disclosure projects. The Western Climate Initiative, and the ICLG helps us find local climate legislation.
Chinese Researchers Accelerate Pine Tree Growth, Carbon Disclosure Projects, The Western Climate Initiative, The ICLG Sources Climate Legislation
CARBON DISCLOSURE PROJECTS
Here’s the challenge: We must act urgently to prevent dangerous climate change and environmental damage. That starts by being aware of our impact so that investors, companies, cities and governments can make the right choices now. So, imagine you’re a CEO of a company that employs thousands of people in 45 countries on five continents. Now imagine you want to figure out how to account for GHG emissions throughout.
Or imagine you’re the mayor of a major city, provincial leader, or governor of state. Where do you start? What’s your plan? Daunting task, right? How do you do that? You contact a group called, CDP. CDP—or carbon disclosure projects– is a not-for-profit charity founded in 2000. It runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. Its areas of focus are on climate, water and forests.
Climate: improving corporate awareness through measurement and disclosure is essential to the effective management of carbon and climate change risk. Water: CDP’s work with water security motivates companies to disclose and reduce their environmental impacts by using the power of investors and customers.
Forests: The single largest cause of deforestation and forests degradation globally is commercial agriculture. The supply-demand of key forest risk commodities also accounts for 10-15% of greenhouse gas emissions. The unsustainable production and supply chains of these commodities present significant business risks and negative environmental impacts on land, water, biodiversity and climate change.
Why does the work of CDP matter to us? Whether you believe/like it or not, the world’s economy still matters when it comes to climate change. Because CDP works on behalf of over 680 institutional investor signatories with a combined US$130 trillion in assets and 200+ major purchasers with over US$5.5 trillion in procurement spend, those numbers influence carbon emitters to clean up their acts.
ICLG HELPS LOCATE LOCAL U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION
Curious about whether your city, county or state has a climate change policy? Not sure how to proceed? Well we just discovered the ICLG, or International Comparative Legal Guides. ICLG.com is a leading global platform for legal reference, analysis and news, hosting comprehensive comparative legal guides and research tools that cover law in more than 192 jurisdictions across 58 practice areas.
It was founded in 2002 as the Global Legal Group (GLG). The independent, London-based media company specializes in the legal and strategic business sectors. Through print and digital channels it provides legal, regulatory and policy information to senior executives, general counsel, law firms and government agencies.
What does London-based ICLG have to do with tracking climate change policy in the United States? Its just-released “Environment & Climate Change Laws and Regulations USA 2022,” that’s what.
The publication covers common issues in environment and climate change laws and regulations—including environmental policy and its subsequent enforcement, discussions on environmental permits, waste as well as liabilities. To wit, the question raised in Chapter 4, Liabilities is, “What types of liabilities can arise where there is a breach of environmental laws and/or permits, and what defenses are available?”
Liabilities are key because they’re sometimes the only way to break through and force policy change or at least enforcement by recalcitrant politicians. Okay, so it’s not 100% comprehensive, but it’s a start. And for policy geeks, a start is all you need, am I right?
What’s significant about the International Comparative Legal Guides is that it forms an international network of legal experts who, by contributing their expertise, reach a wide readership of legal and business professionals around the world.
DEEPER DIVE: ICLG.com
CHINESE RESEARCHES DISCOVER SECRET TO ACCELERATING PINE TREE GROWTH
According to an article in Yahoo Finance, Chinese scientists late last year published an article in the internationally renowned journal Cell, claiming to have uncovered the genetic code and the molecular mechanisms regulating the evolution of Pinus tabulaeformis, a coniferous tree native to China.
The study, led by Beijing Forestry University’s researchers, was hailed as a scientific breakthrough in the cultivation of pine trees by thousands of breeders, including Wang Lianmau of Jiangxi Fenglin Investment. The group focused on conifers because Conifers dominate the world’s forest ecosystems and are the most widely planted tree species.
However, their giant and complex genomes present great challenges for assembling a complete reference genome for evolutionary and genomic studies. The study provides insights into conifer evolution and resources for advancing research on conifer adaptation and development.
Said Wang, “With this breakthrough, trees can grow faster and stronger, and be less susceptible to pests and diseases.” Wang is general manager of a company with over 50,000 acres of tree plantation in southeastern China’s Jiangxi province.
He added, “The selection and breeding of new fast-growing varieties with high yield, high timber quality and strong [disease] resistance is an effective means of improving productivity and expanding forest resources.”
Why does genetic research into making pine trees grow faster and more resilient matter to us? Conifers are everywhere. They comprise 615 species contributing 39% of the world’s forests and serve as backbone components of forest ecosystems.
And more cynically capitalistically, The ability of plantations to reduce carbon dioxide can earn them credits that are tradeable via unregulated carbon markets once their sustainability and management standards are verified. For China, increasing afforestation is one of the natural solutions that can help China meet President Xi Jinping’s pledge for emissions to peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
THE WESTERN CLIMATE INITIATIVE
So we were doing some research on US climate change policy when we actually veered off into something very interesting. It’s called the Western Climate Initiative. Founded in 2007, the WCI includes seven western U.S. states and four Canadian provinces.
Originally, the idea behind the WCI was to implement ways to reduce their states’ emissions of greenhouse gases and achieve related co-benefits. These states and provinces also committed to set an overall regional goal to reduce emissions (set in August 2007 as 15 percent below 2005 emission levels by 2020), participate in a cross-border greenhouse gas registry to consistently measure and track emissions, and adopt clean tailpipe standards for passenger vehicles. By July 2008, the initiative had expanded to include two more U.S. states (Montana and Utah) and four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec).
WCI, Inc., was established as a non-profit in 2011 and administers the shared emissions trading market between the American state of California and the Canadian province of Quebec, as well as separately administering the individual emissions trading systems in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and American state of Washington.
Why does the Western Climate Initiative matter to us? Together, the seven states and four provinces comprise 20 percent of the U.S. GDP and 76 percent of the Canadian GDP. What they do has a significant impact on the globe.