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  • FLOATING FARMS CAN HELP GLOBAL FOOD STORAGE

    This new concept is becoming potentially a reality: an architect suggested building floating gardens offering endless food supplies.

    Without a doubt, global population is rising and so is a food production as well. How do we fight the hungry demands that are growing?

    Many architects are interested in this problem and trying to come up with more new ideas. One caught our eyes: Javier Ponce from Forward Thinking Architecture designed a floating farm.

    As Ponce said: “One subject which caught my attention was food risk and the current trend of importing massive amounts of food from one place to another causing a huge environmental problem.” He was inspired by floating farms created by Mayan agriculture.

    Those floating gardens are built over freshwater lakes by layers with a cycle of decomposition and irrigation. Each layer is used in a different way: the first one for fishing operations. The second uses treated water for growing plants and crops, without needing any rain. And finally at the top floor, there are solar plants and irrigation tools.

    Even if the project is ambitious, it can be done for some expert and can help solving hungry demands that is doomed to grow.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 17 June 2015

    (Source: Vice)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

     

  • CHEESE PRODUCTION AND A MILK POWDER

    In Italy, there is a law regulation from 1974 that prohibited making cheese with the use of substitutes. EU Commission sent an injunction for “stopping this ban on possession anduse of a milk powder, condensed milk and reconstituted milk in the manufacture of dairy products”.

    Some organizations criticize Brussels for giving the green light on lower quality standards on food products: chocolate without cocoa, wine without grapes and weaken meat. Maurizio Martina (Italian ministry of Agriculture) made an informal reject on the EU suggestion.

    The Italian law regulation from April 1974 is strict, but the ratio is to safeguard consumers' expectations about the authenticity of Italian products.

    According to Italian, the EU has a different approach. The Commission thinks that the law is a restriction of free movement of goods, as a milk powder and condensed milk used widely throughout Europe.

    This decision has three simple consequences according to Italians: to get lower medium quality of Italian cheese and yoghurt; to damage the reputation of “Made in Italy”mark; and finally to get lower the import of the milk powder and the condensed milk, causing a decrease to the income of livestock.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 30 June 2015

    (Source: La Stampa)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

     

  • WILL THE NEW TRADE DEAL IMPACT THE IMPORTED SHRIMPS MARKET?

    The problem has being raised, because in someimported shrimps banned antibiotics and food borne pathogens were founded. Members of the US shrimp industry are becoming more concerned about the trade since it can influence US regulators rejecting unsafe seafood imports.

    Since 2005, countries throughout the Asia Pacific region are trying to negotiation a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regarding many issues, such as agriculture, intellectual property and many others.

    There is another concern of US shrimpers: an unfair market disadvantages. The Trans-Pacific Partnership can weaken the possibility to refuse unsafe seafood imports, advantaging other countries towards USA.

    In the US, 90% of the shrimps are imported from different countries, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected just 3.7% of the traded shrimps, and tested 0.7% of the total volume.

    Many people are not sure if FDA can enforce the rules settled down, especially for inspections at the border.

    Not everyone agrees, as vice president of communications for the National Fisheries Institute Gavin Gibbons said: “The suggestion by anti-trade voices that imported shrimp poses a food safety risk is part of a protectionist-driven, fake food safety scare”

    He also pointed out that all seafood imports are subject to FDA’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). Its duty is to analyze and control the biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, a distribution and a consumption of the finished product.

    However, most of the US shrimpers accept the trade, they do not want “to give the rest of the world carte blanche permission to do whatever they want to do to the food they send here,”as David Veal (executive director of Wild American Shrimp) said.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 16 June 2015

    (Source: Food safety news)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

     

  • HAM SCAM FOUND BY ITALY’S FOOD POLICE

    Near Naples, the police found an illegal laboratory where the meat from Poland was re-labeled as Italian.

    Inside an illegal underground laboratory, a couple (both 50 years old) were found and charged with food fraud and violating health and safety regulations governingpublic food. The Polish ham was repackaged and issued with counterfeit labels of some Italian companies, such as Parma producers.

    It is unknown where the meat was going to be distributed and sold.

    This story is no news to Italy, in the last years food fraud has been a growing problem: the “Made in Italy” label is worldwide recognise and as such comes at a premium. The consequence is a high attraction to fraudsters. As Italian farmers association stated: “the meat sector is very vulnerable”and for Italian fraud squad (NAS) the value of seizures of fraudulent meat made in the last year was equal to €143.7 million.

    Europe needs new policy to fight this problem, especially food labeling. In Italy, most of the pork meat comes from Denmark, France, Germany and Spain, without even knowing it because the information is not disclosed on the label. 

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 30 June 2015

    (Source: Huffington Post.it)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

     

  • “WE SHOULD STOP EATING NUTELLA”

    French ecology minister Ségolène Royal rose against the Italian company Ferrero, accusing that Nutella is contributing on deforestation and global warming by using oil palm.

    During an interview with Canal+ (a French television station), she stated: “We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it's made with palm oil. Oil palms have replaced trees, and therefore caused considerable damage to the environment

    Over the years oil palm is used for food products, detergents, cosmetics and especially biofuel; the demand is predicted to more than double by 2030 and to triple by 2050.

    In 2012, some French senators presented the so-called “Nutella amendment”trying to impose a 300%  tax on products made from palm oil. As well-known production of the oil is causing lots of environmental issues such as deforestation. The provision didn’t see the light and Nutella is still a legal product in France.

    The Italian environment minister responded to the French minister’s comment, by saying “leave Italian products alone”. And Ferrero stated that the company is using responsible palm oil: 80% from Malesia and the rest from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Brazil.

    In 2015, the Italian company reached its target of using 100% sustainable palm oil, following what was decided with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. 

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 16 June 2015

    (Source: The Post International)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

     

  • US SENATORS PROPOSE A SINGLE FOOD AGENCY

    Three senators introduced bills, proposing to create just one US single food agency completely independent from any federal departments. At the moment there are 15 different agencies from three departments which task is to oversight. 

    It’s not a new project President Obama proposed the “consolidation of the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety components into a new agency within the Department of Health and Human Services”.

    The senators stated the urge this transformation, because as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) also reported the system is inefficient and many federal oversight of food safety have been made.

    For those reasons, GAO researched food agencies over the world, trying to improve the effectiveness. The common challenges faced from every country with this transformation are the costs and a temporary reduction in the quantity of food safety activities performed. Adjusting to a new reality can also create challenges to the employees, trying to work in a new system.

    The lawmakers are asking for different options: underlining the costa and benefits of each one for domestic options. Already in 1999, GAO’s director of food and agriculture described the urgent need of a single agency.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 29 June 2015

    (Source: Food safety news)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

  • ENERGY AND WATER ARE TOO PERILOUSLY LINKED

    The high interdependence of water and power could soon lead to shortages and escalating costs for both.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that, in the world in which we live, water needs power and power needs water. On the one hand, in fact, power is required to move and to clean water as well as to create it from brine through the desalination process, as has been shown, for example, by the construction of a desalination plant in San Diego to provide 7% of the city’s water, which will require about 38 megawatts of power – enough for more than 28,000 homes. On the other hand, water is required for hydropower, for oil, natural gas and coal extraction and for cooling power plants.

    Resource managers and environmental advocates are warning that – as populations grow and climate change and droughts are starting to seriously impact our world – this close interdependency could give rise to a negative feedback loop in protecting the environment and the impacts to the economy. According to the Pacific Institute, a non-profit research centre based in Oakland (California), this situation is the result of the spread of wrong assumptions about the abundance of water and power over the last century, which led to a reckless exploitation of these resources.

    Consequently, the concerns of those who fear that the link between water and energy could lead to shortages and higher costs of both are real and relevant. On this matter, two developments occurred in the last five years offer good and bad news: good news come from the rollout of renewable energies, which need little amounts of water; bad news, on the other hand, come from the fracking revolution, which caused the release of huge amounts of chemically infused water underground at high pressure. Also, even leaving aside the issues related to water pollution, fracking a single well requires 1.5 million to 5.7 million gallons of water.

    The goal now should be to use both power and energy as sparingly as possible, while ongoing researches are being carried out to find a way to rethink their use.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 23 April 2015

    (Source: New York Times International)

  • CANADA NEEDS TO TACKLE TAR SANDS POLLUTION

    Sweden has raised doubts over Canada’s strategy to cut emissions as tar sands drilling is set to cause a major increase in released CO2 within the next years.

    Through a UN portal, Sweden probed Canada’s plan to control tar sands drilling, asking the country to examine in depth its envisaged policies for reducing emissions from oil sand extraction. Sweden’s interrogation arises from the alarming outcome of new researches showing that Canada’s tar sand extraction activities will double by 2030, driving a 38% increase in CO2 emissions over the next 15 years. The North American country has two months to reply through the portal.

    While more and more countries are submitting their climate pledges under a UN deal due to be agreed in Paris in December, Canada hasn’t issued its contribution yet.

    Also, the country is very likely to break its promise to cut emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, and indeed this has been one of the reasons that made it opt out of the Kyoto Protocol. The main obstacle for Canada to meet its goals is the rapidly-increasing amount of emissions coming from the tar sands industry, which – according to a government report – is set to grow four-fold between 2005 and 2030 and to reach 137 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

    Despite the government’s promises to regulate the sector, no concrete action has been taken, and now tar sands emissions make up a quarter of the Canadian total. Tar sands extraction and the whole process to turn bitumen into crude oil imply high energy and water consumption, and are putting at risk the county’s boreal forests and wetlands.

    Tar sands are also influencing the US political dynamics regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Alberta to Texas, and play a key role in supplying oil through the East Energy Pipeline, which is currently under review and would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to eastern Canada.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 22 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • AUSTRALIA COULD MOVE TO A 100% GREEN ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BY 2050

    Australia could target a 100% carbon-free power supply by 2050 without massive costs or a braking in economic growth if effective policies are implemented.

    According to a new report produced by the WWF in collaboration with the Australian National University, Australia is one of the best placed countries in the world for moving to a completely renewable electricity supply, and could source 100% of its power from renewable energies by 2050 without suffering significant costs or depressing economic growth; to this end, however, clear and stable national policy provisions supporting investments in the renewable sector will be fundamental.

    The report highlights that lately it has become cheaper to cut carbon emissions, while the costs of fossil fuel technologies have remained static. Consequently, one of the major arguments used against decarbonisation during the last ten years – namely the high cost of a transition to renewables – is not persuasive anymore, as it has been proven that previous works have overestimated the costs associated with moving away from fossil fuels. As stated in the report, the costs would be further reduced if the government allowed the use of international permits.

    At the moment, Australia doesn’t have post-2020 emissions reduction targets, and many countries – including China and the United States - are challenging the country’s policy towards emissions cuts and renewable energies. The current commitment is to cut emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020, but many doubt this target will be reached, also because the government decided to cut the existing Renewable Energy Target (RET), thus provoking an investment drought in the sector.

    Australia is expected to establish its post-2020 emissions reduction goals and, according to the national manager of WWF Kellie Caught, it will be crucial for the country to set an ambitious long-term target and to take decisive action to achieve it.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 21 April 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • THE WORLD BANK’S INCONSISTENT POLICY ON FOSSIL FUEL INVESTMENTS

    The World Bank is calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, but at the same is increasing its support for the development of polluting energies, thus mining its credibility as a global leader in sustainable development.

    During the World Bank’s Spring Meeting held in Washington DC in April, the Bank’s President Jim Yong Kim announced a five-point plan to cut fossil fuel subsidies and guarantee a sustainable growth.

    However, a new report by Oil Change International (OCI) reveals that the World Bank’s institutions have spent US$3.4 billion last year to support the development of fossil fuels, 22% more than in 2013. The report also shows that they are still subsidising coal-fired power plants – even though they pledged not to do so unless there was no alternative – and funding further exploration for fossil fuels. This proves a serious inconsistency in the financial institution’s approach towards energy supply, and comes as a massive blow in its credibility as a global leader in sustainable development.  

    It is crucial that the World Bank’s activities match its statements on climate action, especially when it comes to climate finance for developing countries, but rather than keeping its promises the Bank is behaving irresponsibly by allowing fossil fuel subsidies to be tagged as climate finance. In fact, given the lack of a definition for climate finance within the UN, this month the Bank issued a series of “common principles” for climate finance to explain what kind of investments can be considered climate friendly, and also investments in “efficient” coal power and carbon capture and storage are included in the list, thus risking to set a dangerous precedent.

    The World Bank plays a critical role in shaping the energy sectors of developing countries, and should therefore lead by example and eliminate its back up for fossil fuel investments instead of using its power to encourage investments in stranded assets.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 21 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • CARBON IN PRIVATE-OWNED COMPANIES’ RESERVES KEEPS INCREASING

    The amount of carbon kept in coal, oil and gas reserves owned by the most important fossil fuel companies is close to the global safe emissions limit.

    According to a list of the top 100 traded coal companies and the top 100 oil and gas companies produced by Fossil Free Indexes (FFI), a US firm, in the last five years there has been a 10% rise in carbon reserves owned by the world’s biggest fossil fuel private companies, which now have 555 gigatonnes of CO2 at their disposal, and are carrying on further investments to search for and develop new reserves. Gazprom tops the oil and gas list, while Coal India heads the coal list; in the top 10 there are some of the most important Western fossil fuel companies, such as ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, BHP Billiton and Anglo American.

    The 555 gigatonnes figure alone is very close to the global safe emissions limit that is the total amount of emissions the world can afford without bringing global warming beyond the danger limit of 2C. It should also be kept in mind that far more fossil fuels – about 2650 gigatonnes – are held by public companies, which means that overall the existing reserves contain four to five times the amount of fossil fuels that can be safely burned.

    Both the World Bank and the Bank of England have warned that international measures against climate change could deprive many fossil fuels assets of their value, possibly losing investors trillions of dollars. This is why, according to James Leaton at the Carbon Tracker Initiative, it is critical for investors to determine where their capital is spent, otherwise they will devote money on the develop of fossil fuel reserves that can’t be burnt.

    The UN is carrying on a fast-growing divestment campaign to convince investors to dump their fossil fuel holdings, and recent researches prove that by doing so investors wouldn’t lose money; in fact, an analysis by MSCI shows that by selling off their coal, oil and gas shares over the past five years, investors have earned 1.2% a year more than by keeping them.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 20 April 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • THE DEBATED ROLE OF CITIES IN INFLUENCING GLOBAL CLIMATE TALKS

    Even though they are not formally recognised by the UN as participants in the on-going climate talks, cities can still make an impact.

    In early April, the ICLEI World Summit, a network of local governments for sustainability, was held in Seoul, and mayors stressed out the need to give more consideration to cities on an international level, given that they are responsible for most of the world’s people, money and greenhouse gas emissions, and could therefore play a significant role in tackling climate change and helping to reach a global deal in Paris at the end of the year.

    The most relevant statement if intent released hitherto is the Compact of Mayors, an agreement initially signed by 228 member cities that pledged to complete a climate action plan within three years and report their progress. The Compact of Mayors has been announced at UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit in New York in September 2014, and 35 new cities joined it in Seoul. However, it is often hard for cities to get official acknowledgement of their role as sub-national governments, and even within the agreement’s Climate Registry, which has been set up for Members to report their progress, commitments are measured against different baselines, making it difficult to compare the results.

    Regarding the importance of cities’ participation in climate talks, the UN adopts an ambivalent approach: Ahmed Djoghlaf, who will co-chair the Paris talks, stated that cities would be brought “from the side events to the core”, but also reaffirmed that only national climate plans will “form the backbone of the agreement”, and the UN climate chief Christiana Figueres urged mayors to demand strong climate action from their country, but didn’t promise cities any greater influence.

    However, cities could acquire a more significant role in the enforcement of climate policies only with a different finance management; in fact, they are currently highly dependent on funds from national governments and ad hoc grants to fund climate-friendly infrastructure, and are facing a major cash shortfall.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 20 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • ENERGY CRISIS MAKES BRAZIL TURN TO SOLAR POWER

    Solar power could help Brazil avoid the catastrophic effects of its imminent energy crisis.

    Brazilis currently facing a devastating drought, which is causing a tragic drop in the levels of the reservoirs that supply many hydroelectric dams situated in the country’s industrial powerhouse and major population centre. What’s more, with the seven-month dry period coming up, the reservoirs could fall to 10% of their capacity, and this would have “catastrophic” effects on energy security.

    The perspective of a severe energy crisis, together with the recent appointment of a more open-minded Minister of Energy, Eduardo Braga, is leading Brazil to rethink its previous aversion towards solar power. In fact, given the present situation, the country – which currently relies on hydroelectric dams for up to 80% of its energy - needs to diversify its energy sources, and the Minister announced his plans to turn many hydroelectric dams into solar energy farms by attaching solar panels to buoys and making them float on the surface of the diminishing reservoirs. This, according to calculations made by ministry officials, could generate up to 15,000 MegaWatts (MW) of power.

    The solar panels will firstly be tested on two dams owned by state companies, and if the project is successful it will be extended to other dams in the southeast and centre west of the country.

    Braga wants to introduce new rules to foster the installation of solar panels on buildings with large roofs, and has also promised tax breaks for the production of photovoltaic panels. Moreover, two auctions for solar power will be held later this year, and many foreign companies are longing to get a share in this market, as it is likely to grow rapidly in the coming years thanks to its incredible potential (equivalent to 20 times the total of all the present installed capacity of electrical energy).

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 16 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • FLYWHEEL PLANT WILL STORE EXCESS CLEAN ENERGY IN IRELAND

    Ireland has announced Europe’s first flywheel project, which could “revolutionise” the renewable sector thanks to its unlimited storage capability.

    Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has recently announced that a flywheel plant with potentially unlimited storage capability will be built in the country, and the foundations for the project – which is expected to launch commercially in 2017 – will be laid within weeks.

    A motor-generated flywheel will use energy from the grid at times of over-supply and will release the energy from underwater turbines at times of supply deficit, thus solving the problem of clean energy supply shortfalls when there is insufficient sun or wind.

    In fact, the system could “revolutionise” the integration of renewable power into electricity supplies and will operate at a capacity of 20MW at upwards of 85-90% efficiency, while at the moment energy shortages are compensated for with fossil fuel generators – such as coal or gas-fired power plants – which have an efficiency ratio of only 35-40%.

    This project goes in the direction of an overall revision of Europe’s last-century grid networks, as has been wished for by the EU’s vice president for energy union Maroš Šefčovič.

    In fact, Šefčovič believes that smart grids could “do for Europe what shale gas did for the United States”, and they will be able to carry energy, data, products and services, also allowing people to sell back surplus electricity to the electricity network; however, in order to do so, they will need a major overhaul.

    The flywheel project is founded by the European Commission and the Irish government, and is likely to create 50 new jobs.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 14 April 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • VANCOUVER PLEDGES A COMPLETE SHIFT TO RENEWABLES

    Following a unanimous vote by the City Council, Vancouver joins the growing number of cities aiming to run only on renewable energies.

    Vancouver’s City Council voted unanimously to shift the city’s energy use to 100% renewable energy sources within 20 years. Specifically, the Canadian city of 600,000 people will use only green energy sources for electricity, transportation, heating and air conditioning.

    The announcement was made at the 2015 International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) World Congress, a triennial sustainability summit of local governments, and makes Vancouver the latest – within a growing number of cities – to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. In fact, more than 50 cities have already disclosed their intention to go green, including San Diego and San Francisco, Sidney and Copenhagen; some of them, like Reykjavik in the electricity production and heating field, have already reached the target.

    The goal could be achieved in a few years in the electricity sector, but heating, cooling and transportation will take longer, so Vancouver is likely to set its goal for a target year of 2030 or 2035. According to the city’s deputy mayor Andrea Reimer “there’s a compelling moral imperative but also a fantastic economic case to be a green city”, and the ambition for Vancouver is to become one of the world’s greenest cities by 2020 despite the counter-productive environmental policy enforced by the Canadian government over the last 10 years.

    During the ICLEI World Congress, the mayor of Seoul Park Won-Soon delivered a remarkable speech, and declared cities and urban areas responsible for 70-75% of global CO2 emissions; he also committed to reduce Seoul’s energy use and increase renewable generation, hoping that by 2030 the city – which now has a population of 11 million people and is growing fast – will be able to cut its emissions by 40%.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 13 April 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • CLIMATE ACTION MAY REQUIRE COERCIVE SOLUTIONS

    Being climate change a serious threat to human lives, it’s time to think about measures to coerce climate action.

    Environmentalists are usually against the use of force in international politics, but the pressing need to tackle climate change is urging countries to think about using coercive solutions to prevent nations and groups from carrying out actions that could endanger the environment.

    One of the main issues related to such measures is the targeting of climate “aggressors”, as behaviours are usually diffuse in both space and time and it is impossible to blame just one country or one action for causing a damage. This is why the UN Security Council is the only body that can authorise the use of force, but the chance that no one of the five veto-wielding members will stop the enforcement of these measures is very unlikely to happen, as these countries are precisely the ones that contribute the most to climate change; also, any use of force – in order to be legitimate – has to be substantially more effective than cooperative efforts to solve the problem.

    The first kind of viable measures could be the endorsement of minimally coercive forms of “climate conditionality”, which would allow a country to push others to enhance their climate-friendly policies by denying economic, military or other advantages. This is already happening – for instance – in Norway, where health funds can impose lower investment ratings on countries with worse mitigation record, or within the EU, where the Emissions Trading System’s border tax adjustments in the aviation field can force other countries to improve their emissions record.

    When minimally coercive solutions are not doable, high-level coercive measures can be implemented, for example in the form of military attacks and blockades. However, this is usually the least likely approach to employ, as it is the least effective one, but it can be efficient when countries can clearly identify the aggressor and the danger to the environment; for instance, this is the case of the measures implemented by Brazil in 2012 to combat illegal logging in the Amazon.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 6 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • GLOBAL WARMING MAKING CALIFORNIA DROUGHT WORSE

    According to scientists, even if California’s drought hasn’t been triggered by climate change, global warming is certainly worsening the situation.

    Californiais currently going through a drought so severe that the state had to command reductions in water consumption, and scientists all agree on the fact that global warming is worsening the whole situation.

    As Princeton’s climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer has explained, “the drought is made of two components: not enough rain and too much heat”; even though it hasn’t been proved yet that the lack of rain is linked to climate change, the planetary warming has surely made it more likely that temperatures would rise in California, and higher temperatures cause more evaporation from reservoirs, rivers and soil.

    Warmer temperatures are also reducing the snowpack, which normally works as a natural water store and gradually melts into reservoirs and canals over the spring and summer; this means that, until the start of the next rainy season, the only amount of water available will be the one stored in the reservoirs.

    The current drought, which started in 2011, is the worst in 120 years of climate record-keeping in California and probably the worst in more than 1000 years, but scientists believe that the situation is likely to grow worse in the future; for instance, Stanford professor Noah Diffenbaugh has highlighted the alarming data that in the past years dry periods have more often overlapped with warm periods than in previous decades.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 3 April 2015

    (Source: New York Times)

  • UK COAL PLANTS RISK TO BE TAKEN OFFLINE AFTER CARBON FLOOR PRICE INCREASE

    According to market analysts, some UK coal-fired power plants could be switched off this year after the doubling of a carbon emissions levy.

    In the UK, the carbon floor price went up from £9.54 to £18.08 per tonne of CO2, leading the cost of a tonne of carbon for British power plants to £23 when allowances on the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) are considered. The carbon floor price was introduced in 2013, and was created to encourage utilities to switch to burning natural gas or generating power from renewable sources by raising annually the cost of carbon from British power generators above the price of EU allowances; according to market experts, unless gas prices now rise substantially this policy will be enough to trigger a switch from coal to gas, with up to 20 TerraWatt hours (TWh) of coal generation being replaced by gas.

    New figuresreleased by the European Commission on Wednesday, April 1 show that greenhouse gas emissions within the ETS dropped by 21% in 2014 compared to 2005 levels, allowing Europe to meet six years in advance the emissions cut goal set for 2020; what is more, this result has been achieved despite Europe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rise of 1.3% last year.

    The ETS has been established to incentivize emissions cuts by setting a cap on carbon emissions from industrial facilities and allowing companies to sell their spare allowances to more polluting enterprises; this system now covers around two-thirds of Europe’s industrial facilities, and data suggest that the all-encompassing target of a 20% cut in emissions on 1990 levels will soon be met.

    Moreover, Sandbag, a campaigning organization focused on emissions trading, has forecast a 29% drop in carbon emissions by 2020 and a surplus of 2 billion allowances, which would bring Europe closer to reaching its goal of a 40% cut in CO2 emissions by 2030.

    All these data prove that the emissions reduction targets Europe has set are achievable, and urge European leaders to raise the stakes ahead of the Paris climate summit in December.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 3 April 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • AUSTRALIA CLOSED WORST POLLUTING COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS

    Due to the large amount of emissions, the Australian government has been urged to shut down the country’s most polluting coal-fired power plants.

    According to a study from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), 10 companies emitted – directly and indirectly – 158m tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2013-2014, and are therefore responsible for a third of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The list is headed by Energy Australia, while Macquarie Generation and AGL Energy are in second and third position.

    Following the analysis’ outcome – which highlights the large scale of greenhouse gas emitted by the country’s most polluting industries – many criticise the lack of incentives for companies to stop using fossil fuels, and are urging the Australian government to introduce new regulations on coal-fired power plants to ensure that the largest carbon dioxide polluters shut down.

    ACF’s president Geoff Cousins believes the best solution would be to issue a US-style regulation, similar to the US administration’s direct regulations that made coal-fired plants impossible to maintain without high-priced carbon capture technology.

    The ACF also says that – in order to phase out fossil fuels – Australia should switch to wind and solar energy, and reports data from the Energy Supply Association of Australia that shows how already allocated wind and solar energy projects could provide a quarter of Australia’s electricity demand by 2023-2024. A switch to renewable energies would also help Australia’s achievement of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) target of pashing out fossil fuel energy without largely unproven carbon capture technology by the end of the century.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 19 March 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • WIND POWER: A CRUCIAL ROLE IN THE FUTURE OF US ENERGY SUPPLY

    Wind power could supply 35% of US energy demand by 2050, according to a new report.

    A new report from the United States’ Department of Energy (DoE) says wind energy could supply 10% of electricity by 2020 and 20% by 2030 and fill 35% of energy demand by 2050, becoming “directly competitive” with fossil fuels and supporting more than 600.000 jobs across the country; also, generating electricity from wind would help avoid 12.3 gigatonnes of emissions and US$400 billion in global damage from climate change by 2050, and would ensure a 23% reduction in water consumption in the electricity sector by the same year.

    However, wind’s growth over the past years hailed from wind technology cost reductions and federal and state policy support, so it is essential that the government keeps backing wind’s competitive position in the market, for example by putting plans to increase US clean energy production at the centre of the country’s contribution to the imminent UN Paris climate deal.

    At the end of 2014 the US government withdrew the Production Tax Credits (PTCs), a form of support that guaranteed an incentive for the first 10 years of a facility’s operating life in the wind energy production sector, and a bill to extend PTCs for 5 years was defeated in the Senate in January. This, according to the report’s authors, could jeopardise growth chances in the sector.

    Major investments are needed in the transmission infrastructure field as well, given the poor state of the US national grid; in fact, renewable technologies would work better if they had access to a grid that could send power over long distances, as this could compensate for low wind or sun levels in some states.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 18 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • DELHI: NO PLAN TU CUT EMISSIONS AND SAFEGUARD CITIZENS’ LIVES

    The Indian capital is now Earth’s most polluted city, and its smog levels are so high they could affect its people’s lifespan.

    New Delhiis now rated as the most polluted city in the world, being air pollution 60 times higher than the safe level, and a recent joint study by the universities of Chicago, Yale and Harvard found that, because of this, half of the Indian population could lose up to three years’ lifespan.

    Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, admitted that the level of particulate matter (PM10) has exceeded required limits over Delhi and five bordering cities, and, as this could cause serious health problems, he asked the Delhi government to develop an action implementation plan.

    A recent survey carried out by Greenpeace India revealed that in Delhi fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were four times the Indian safety limits and ten times that of the World Health Organization’s, and what is most alarming is that India doesn’t have any health advisory measures in place for Delhiites on heavy pollution days.

    Another study issued in 2014 by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) showed that Delhi’s air is filled with cancer-causing particles, and that the levels of pollution could provoke more than 47.000 premature deaths per million populations within the city.

    Also, data on 2014 PM2.5 levels from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s monitoring stations reveals that Delhi had several days with poor air quality compared to that of Beijing. However, unlike India, in the last years China has implemented emergency action plans to deal with heavy pollution episodes, and has issued innovative measures to provide its citizens cleaner air to breathe as well; in fact, in less than eight years Beijing reduced its air pollution by about 4%, especially by introducing cleaner fuels, putting restrictions on buying new vehicles and setting incentives for adopting electric vehicles.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 17 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENTS RISE WORLDWIDE

    New researches show renewables are close to supplying 10% of global electricity supply, with some of the most notable investment increases coming from developing countries.

    A newly published research from the UN Environment Programme (2015 UNEP Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investments) shows that US$270 billion was invested in green technologies in 2014, with 103GW of power generation capacity added around the world; of that amount, $139 billion was directed towards developed countries and $131 billion towards developing countries.

    The 2014 figure marks a 17% jump from the 2013 figure of $232 billion, and researchers registered a strong growth in wind and solar technologies, which last year accounted for 92% of the investment in renewable energies; in fact, wind and solar energy, along with biomass and waste-to-power, geothermal, small hydro and marine power, contributed 9.1% of the global electricity supply in 2014, up from 8.5% in 2013.

    Also, according to the Executive Director of UNEP Achim Steiner, one of the most encouraging aspects of the report is the “growing penetration of renewable generation in the world’s developing economies”: for example, Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey witnessed investments above the billion dollar mark, and in India the sector regained 14%, with $7.4 billion of investment. Among developed countries the US is currently leading, with solar power driving 7% of renewables growth with $36.3 billion of new funds entering the market.

    The falling of technology costs probably represents the main reason behind this development, as well as the increased urgency to tackle curb emissions and the awareness of the fact that renewables and efficiency measures are reducing greenhouse gas emissions levels.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 2 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • NEW STUDY REPORTS LEAKS REDUCTION FROM US GAS UTILITIES

    According to a new study, many US gas utilities are managing to reduce methane leakages from their natural gas distribution networks, but more work is needed.

    A new study conducted by the Washington State University’s Laboratory for Atmospheric Research with the cooperation of and partial funding from industry has been published on Tuesday, March 31 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology, and confirms that methane leakages from American natural gas systems have dropped sharply in the past 20 years.

    Researches involved direct measurements at 13 gas distribution centres across the US, and the report found that the amount of methane released now is 36% to 70% lower than estimates published in 2011 by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which were based on data from the 1990s. According to the researchers, such a limitation of methane emissions can largely be attributed to equipment upgrades – including the replacement of leaky old steel pipes – and improved leak detection and maintenance.

    However, the amount of methane leaking each year from these local natural gas systems is still alarming, as it is comparable to the amount of carbon dioxide produced by 19 coal-fired power plants; nevertheless, experts declared themselves to be impressed by the study’s results.

    The Obama administration has promoted the use of natural gas as a power source as it produces less carbon dioxide than burning coal, but methane, which is a major component of natural gas, is a powerful greenhouse gas and causes nearly 85 times the effect of carbon dioxide on climate change over a 20-year period, so the government has also insisted on the need to measure and reduce leaks.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 2 April 2015

    (Source: New York Times)

  • RUSSIA PLEDGES GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS CUTS

    Russia has submitted to the UN its plan to reduce carbon emissions, but concerns have been raised regarding the plan’s ambition.

    Russiahas joined the US in delivering its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for a UN global climate deal due to be agreed in Paris at the end of the year. In its plan, the Russian government has committed to the objective of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30% by 2030 on 1990 levels, even though it said its engagement will depend on other countries’ commitments.

    According to the Kremlin, this target is compatible with the long-term goal of keeping global temperatures’ increase below 2C and will allow the endorsement of a low-carbon development in the country, but the WWF-Russia spokesperson Alexey Kokorin believes the plan is “too conservative” and should be reviewed as soon as the national economic crisis is past.

    Also, many have criticised the obscurity of the Russian policy in relation to the role of the country’s forests – which act as vast carbon sinks – in achieving the mitigation targets; in fact, according to the Finnish climate negotiator Matti Kahra “unlimited forest sink use would wipe away 24% of their total emissions instantly”.

    The UN had set a deadline of 31st March for countries “ready to do so” to submit their national plans, but at the moment only the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Mexico, the US and Russia have issued their pledges, covering 29% of global emissions. China is still doing researches and is expected to release its offer by June, while its yet unclear when other major economies such as Japan or Canada will do so.

    However, researchers with the Climate Action Tracker organization have analysed the INDCs filed to the UN so far, and believe that the targets they set will not ensure the world avoids warming of above 2C. Similar analysis will be conduced by the UN in October, when hopefully most of the countries will have issued their plans.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREENproject

    Wednesday, 1 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • US ANNOUNCES ITS CONTRIBUTION TO A GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE PACT

    The White House has officially submitted its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the UN Paris climate talks in December.

    The US government outlined its plan to tackle climate change, pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28% by 2025 relative to 2005 levels and aiming to an 80% cut in emissions by 2050. Being the US one of the main emitters of greenhouse gases, this commitment will certainly contribute to the success of the UN Paris climate talks in December, increasing the chances of reaching a global climate agreement.

    According to the White House climate adviser Brian Deese, “the United States’ target is ambitious and achievable”, and the state department climate envoy Todd Stern believes that a future Republican President or Republicans in Congress will not be able to undone this regulation easily; on the other hand, Republicans say Obama will not be able to fulfil its commitment to the UN.

    With the US joining the EU, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland, the countries accounting for nearly 60% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy have issued their proposals for fighting climate change in the 2020s and beyond, and hopefully more countries will outline their plans over the next few months, creating a solid basis for a global agreement to limit global warming to 2C. However, most countries missed the 31 March deadline for submitting their so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN, and many of them – including big polluters such as Japan, Brazil or India – probably will not issue their commitments until October.

    Campaignershailed the US plan, but believe that its effectiveness will depend on the forthcoming enhancement of strong rules to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.

    The pledges made ahead of the Paris summit are unlikely to guarantee a satisfying reduction in greenhouse gas emissions levels, but many are hoping that in Paris States will agree on a review mechanism to raise the ambitions of countries’ planned emissions cuts.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project
    Wednesday, 1 April 2015
    (Source: Guardian)

  • UN GREEN CLIMATE FUND CAN FINANCE FOSSIL FUEL PROJECTS

    Campaigners are dissatisfied with the Songdo talks’ outcome, as the Green Climate Fund didn’t put any ban on coal finance.

    The ninth Green Climate Fund meeting in Songdo (South Korea) ended on Thursday, March 26 with an agreement on seven intermediaries to pay out funds to tackle climate change and support low carbon activities in developing countries, and the first projects are expected to be funded within the next months, before the Paris climate summit starts this December.

    However, the effectiveness of the fund’s activity is yet to be determined, as the 30 April deadline is getting closer and at the moment only 1% of donor governments have given their contribution, making it hard to imagine that all the pledged US$10.2 billion will actually be donated in time.

    Also, environmentalists are disappointed with the absence of progress made with the definition of clear criteria to determine how the money will be spent; in fact, the Green Climate Fund board didn’t endorse any rule that guarantees that coal power will be excluded from the funding, and this raises actual concerns, as it’s been revealed that Japan is using “climate finance” to support coal plants in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

    The fund agreed to set a minimum standard the greenhouse gas emissions cut projects must reach, but not until 2016, while during this time an “assessment scale”, which is due to be approved in October, will be applied to the first projects.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 31 March  2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS COMING FROM URBAN HOMES SURPASS INDUSTRIES’ IN INDIA

    New study shows that the domestic sector is accountable for the highest emission of greenhouse gases in seven Indian cities.

    A recently issued research from the Centre for Ecological Sciences of the Indian Institute of Science revealed that the domestic sector is one of the highest contributing elements to the emission of hazardous gases in seven Indian cities: it is the main contributor in Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Mumbai, and the second higher contributor – after the transport sector – in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The study’s alarming results are based on data gathered from 2009 to 2010, but the situation is now probably worsened due to the increase in electricity consumption over the last years.

    Researchers quantified greenhouse gas emissions after considering some sectors: electricity generation or consumption, domestic and commercial, transportation, industrial, agricultural, livestock and waste. Also, it resulted that the major sources of energy consumption in the domestic sector were electricity for lighting and household appliances and fuel for cooking.

    However, it is not only from the domestic sector that worrisome levels of hazardous gases emissions are reported, but also from the transport sector. Due to high transport emissions Delhi and Bengaluru have witnessed a rise in respiratory disorders, and this state will not improve until Indian cities are provided with good urban planning and transportation.

    India plays an important role in the total global emission of greenhouse gases, as it contributes more than 5%, and Delhi has the highest impact on this figure with 39 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 31 March 2015

    (Source: Times of India)

  • MEXICO ISSUES PLAN TO CUT EMISSIONS FOR UN CLIMATE TALKS

    The Mexican government has submitted its national climate plan to the UN, promising a 22% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

    Following the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, Mexico became one of the first countries – and the first developing country – to submit its so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations ahead of the Paris climate talks in December. In fact, the UN has asked member states that are “ready to do so” to present their plans with the aim to compare and reinforce them before the summit.

    The national climate plan has been presented in Mexico City by the country’s foreign and environment ministries, and foresees emissions peaking in 2026, leading to a greenhouse gas emissions 22% decrease below business-as-usual levels by 2030 and to a 40% reduction in emissions intensity per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2013 and 2030. According to the submission, Mexico will also cut emissions of “short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP)”, such as methane and soot, by 25% below business-as-usual levels by 2030.

    Despite being a developing country, Mexico has set its plan unconditionally, without demanding any kind of financial support; however, it said it could raise its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goal from 22% to 36% and its SLCP goal from 25% to 40% if there were a global carbon price or if it was supported by climate funds or gained access to technology.

    The plan’s unveiling has been followed by the announcement of a new joint climate policy task force by the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and the US President Barack Obama; this task force will help to “further deepen policy and regulatory coordination in specific areas”, such a vehicle fuel efficiency and electricity grid modernisation. The United States also applauded Mexico for being the first major emerging economy to submit its contribution, and believe that this will set an example for the rest of the world.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 30 March 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • LATIN AMERICA WORKS ON PLANS FOR EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS

    A series of successful summits between Latin American business and political leaders in early 2015 creates real opportunities to actualise sustainability-related microfinance schemes in Latin America.

    Building on the Lima Call for Climate Action, and in sight of the Paris climate summit that will be held at the end of 2015, a series of meetings between Latin American leaders has started with the aim of creating functional and market-based mechanisms to accomplish “intended nationally determined contributions” of emissions reductions. In fact, one of the UNFCCC’s targets for the Paris summit is precisely to create sustainable finance and investment networks for businesses in developing countries and to agree a legally binding global agreement on emissions reductions.

    From February 24 to 26, in Mexico City was held the fourth annual Latin American Impact Investment Forum (FLII). Within this meeting, participant environmental enterprise ventures are offered the chance to compete for the finances coming from the $10 billion UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund and for the $3.5 billions the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has made available for environmental sustainability and renewable energy projects in the private sector.

    Finance networks that focus on sustainable development ensure long-term financial viability, and are therefore advantageous for small enterprises and risky ventures that normally couldn’t compete for financing in open capital markets, as they don’t have demonstrable credit-worthiness or collateral sable assets.

    It is yet to be seen whether these investment commitments will sufficiently speed up sustainability entrepreneurship and environmental impact, but what is sure is that Latin American businesses will require a lot more financing than the current contribution of investment networks in order to achieve actual results in tackling climate change, especially considering that lately Latin America has developed solid trade and investment relationships for non-renewable energy sources with China.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 30 March 2015

    (Source: Renewable Energy World)

  • OBAMA ORDERS FEDERAL AGENCIES TO CUT CARBON EMISSIONS 40% BY 2025

    President Obama commanded the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared with 2008 levels and to increase the use renewable energy by 30%.

    US President Barack Obama endorsed an executive order that sets new targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions coming from federal agencies. According to the President’s directive, federal agencies will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2008 levels over the next decade by shifting to renewable energy sources and increasing the use of “green” electricity by 30%.

    This order could allow the government to save up to $18 billion over the next ten years, and widens the goal Obama set in 2008 to cut federal emissions by 28% by 2020, which have already brought some results: since then, federal agencies have reduced emissions by 17% and increased electricity production from renewable sources from 3% to 9%.

    During the last two years Obama has frequently used his presidential authority to bypass the Congress’ strong opposition on measures to tackle climate change, and the goals set with this new directive are in line with the commitments to reduce US emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 that the President made in November 2014 as part of a climate agreement with China.

    Actually, this executive order by itself probably won’t influence much the President’s target to cut emissions in the country, as the federal government’s quota of greenhouse gas emissions in the US is tiny (less than 1% in 2013), but, because the federal government is the main energy user in the US economy, it is likely to influence private companies to improve their emissions-cutting plans.

    Obama also disclosed an ambitious target to tackle climate change ahead of the UN Paris summit in December, and will soon release an agenda for reaching this goal.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 23 March 2015

    (Source: International New York Times)

  • UN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION DEAL AGREED IN SENDAI

    187 countries have agreed a deal to reduce deaths and damages from natural disasters, but aid agencies are disappointed with it.

    187 countries agreed a UN disaster risk reduction plan in Sendai. The deal set seven targets and four priorities for the coming fifteen years, especially establishing plans to “substantially reduce” loss o life from 2005-2015 levels in 2020-2030 and to reduce economic losses as a proportion of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030.

    The Sendai Framework anticipates December climate talks, and putting its principles into action will be essential to the achievement of new agreements on climate change and sustainable development. In fact, it is estimated that 87% of disasters in 2014 were climate-linked, so an efficient disaster planning is considered to be a fundamental part of adapting to the effects of climate change.

    However, aid agencies have criticised Sendai conference’s outcome for the vague expression of the targets and for the lack of finance, and stated that – being the deal non-binding – it could have set the bar higher. This, according to Harjeet Singh of Action Aid, will put more pressure on governments to take daring decisions at the UN Paris climate talks later this year.

    Particularly, developing countries settled on the achievement of “adequate and sustainable support”, while at the beginning they were asking for “additional and predictable” finance, and the US also refused to back a section on sharing technology with poorer countries.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 20 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • IMPROVING PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY IN AFRICA: A WAY TO REMOVE FINANCIAL BARRIERS TO MEDICINES

    Africa's pharmaceutical industry is rapidly growing, as its  broader economy. This growth is driven by a small number of countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, some Eastern African countries and North Africa. Other emerging countries around the world are showing their capacities in the pharmaceutical sector: during the last years, China's pharmaceutical industry  has grown 20%, Russia's 14%, India's 11% and Brazil's 7%.

    The African pharmaceutical sector’s growth stems from increasing number of Africans with high incomes and spending power, fast urbanization and economic growth in most parts of the continent. It is important to highlight that investments in the pharmaceutical sector are investments in the health sector, which also means immense job creation prospects all along the pharmaceutical value chain.

    The African pharmaceutical industry is based more on small and privately owned companies, which serve their national markets, than large manufacturers (as Aspen in South Africa) or public sector manufacturers, which are less developed on the ground.

    Africa suffers from the worst diseases in the world: 75% of the worldwide HIV/AIDS cases, 90% of the deaths from malaria and the majority of tuberculosis cases are all in Africa. These data clarify that the need of drugs is an emergency. In addition, there is an increasing number of non-communicable diseases which raise the need of specialized medical services and treatments.

    Inorder to remove financial barriers to medicines and enhance access to essential medicines, it is necessary to develop the pharmaceutical industry on the continent. The African Development Bank is promoting an agenda to support its regional member countries towards the achievement of several goals: improving access to affordable and quality medicines, job creation in the pharmaceutical sector, dialogue between private and public actors in order to face the challenges that the sector is posing to the African economy.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    (Source: All Africa)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • PROF. DANIEL MCFADDEN: IT IS IMPORTANT TO IMPROVE THE PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SECTOR IN CHINA

    Daniel McFadden, presidential professor of Health Economics and Policy at the University of Southern California, argues that Chinese healthcare reform can improve the country’s economy. The government has recently published a guideline to support the healthcare reform this year, in order to improve 31 health fields.

    The statement said that this guideline will be able to improve medical services in public hospitals and adjust their prices, enhance medicine purchasing in country level hospitals and settle policies for the traditional Chinese medicine. Professor McFadden believes that the reforms would improve the situation in the cities, while they would not work very well in some rural areas, where the government has to face many challenges on the health issue.

    He has underlined that, in these last years, China’s growth is mainly related to the exporting sector than the domestic consumption, a strategy that cannot be continued indefinitely. Due to a weak system of social insurance, individual savings rates have been extremely high in China, a thing that has driven people not to spend their money.

    According to McFadden, who received the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economics for developing methods and theory used in analyzing how consumers and households make choices from sets of discrete alternatives, it is necessary to have an improved consumer sector in which citizens spend the money they earn on goods rather than saving that money for the health costs in the future.

    The Chinese government is taking measures to encourage the opening of private hospitals, but the Nobel laureate thinks that  health sector is one of the sectors in the economy where the public control is actually important.

    The most efficient healthcare systems around the world, in terms of keeping people healthy and less costly, are the ones where the community medical providers are either employed by the government or employed by companies that are largely contracting with the government and not operating as separate businesses, as McFadden said.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Friday, June 6, 2014

    (Source: Want China Times)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • ALARMING SITUATION: CHINESE GROUNDWATER POLLUTION

    Currently, sixty percent of Chinese population gets drinking water from groundwater, often untreated in rural areas. Data show that 360 million people in rural regions drink water that does not meet the minimum conditions, and 20% of groundwater sources for municipal water supplies do not respect standards.

    The majority of families in villages in Henan province, central China, relies on well water. At the same time, it is also a common fact that the presence of polluting manufactures built near the villages is one of the main threats of water pollution.

    Studies have shown the impact in this region of the Shengguang Group, the world’s biggest manufacturer of drips and syringes built just several hundred metres away from the villages. This factory is a key element for the Henan’s economy, selling medical supplies throughout China and to 40 countries in Europe and South-East Asia. On the other hand, the huge quantities of waste water from the manufacturing process are the main cause of severe groundwater pollution.

    Today, groundwater pollution is one of the most urgent issues affecting the Chinese environment and safety.

    For this reason, Chinese law strongly prohibits the dumping of effluent underground. The Water Pollution Prevention Law forbids the dispersal of harmful waste water or other pollutants in the ground.

    According to the law, local environmental authorities are able to impose fines in case of pollution and if the offending company fails to make remediation, they can designate a third party to carry out the work at the offending company’s expense. However, the majority of cases result just in a fine.

    The improper disposal of industrial and domestic effluent are the main causes of groundwater pollution, but also other sources of pollution such as agricultural pesticides, fertilizer and mining waste play a central role.

    Data also show that Shengguang is not the only company that is polluting groundwater. In 2011 media reported that in the Hebei county of Yuanshi several chemical plants had been found to be dumping water containing chemical contaminants, causing groundwater pollution and forcing ten thousand locals to buy drinking water.

    The framework of Chinese groundwater is complex and vague. The China Geological Survey has published a map of groundwater pollution but this only marks an indication of the quality of groundwater across large regions. In northern China pollution of groundwater is both common and worsening. The south-west and north-west of the country, less affected by human activity, records lower levels of water pollution.

    In this context, experts alarmingly warn about the strong impact of water pollution on human health.

    Shenqiu county, in the Henan municipality of Zhoukou, is famous around China due to the high incidence of cancer in the villages. Although the region lies on the Shaying River, a major tributary of the Huai, residents rely on groundwater for their daily use. For years the Shaying has been the main focus of efforts to clean up the Huai, with many smaller polluting factories forced to close or move. Despite these efforts, the total amount of pollution has not been sufficiently brought under control.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Thursday, 5 June 2014

    (Source: Chinadialogue)

  • CHINA RAISING ITS SUBSIDIES FOR HEALTH COVERAGE TO HELP RURAL AREAS HIT BY HEALTHCARE EXPENDITURES

    Chinese government is keen to enhance its social safety net through raising subsidies for basic medical coverage for all. Those subsidies will be increased by 40 yuan to 320 yuan this year and will be allocated among residents in both rural and urban areas, as the Chinese Ministry of Finance said.

    Due to high out-of-pocket expenditures which force poor people in rural areas to spend so much money for covering healthcare costs, the government is driving its subsidies for only relatively mild illnesses and not catastrophic diseases to rural residents, who are going to receive more help from the administration.

    According to the experts, China’s attempt to rebalance the disparity in social-insurance coverage will help the population spend more, a thing that can stimulate economic growth. In 2009, the government tried to set up an universal health insurance system to cover its citizens and enhance the access to care. Unfortunately, this healthcare reform has shown its lacks. Robin Kerawala, a pharmaceutical expert and co-founding partner of Shanghai-based consultancy SmithStreet, argued that people get an higher health coverage in urban areas than those in rural areas.

    People from the counties still travel across the country to city hospitals, because treatments at home are not available or are not enough compared to urban standards. The result has been overcrowded city hospitals, where people spend days and even weeks waiting for appointments in overflowing waiting rooms.

    The Chinese administration is trying to get a better coverage through a funding system that relies on a mix of employee and employer contributions. According to the Ministry of Finance, contributions to China's social insurance fund, including medical, pension and unemployment are increasing. Indeed, each resident will contribute 20 yuan more to his or her social insurance this year.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • CHINESE PRIVATE HEALTHCARE SECTOR AS AN EXPERIMENTAL FIELD

    Murali Gangadharan, Head of Research at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Shanghai, said that China, due to the lacks in public hospitals’ services, is looking at the healthcare sector as an industry, while – in the past - it was considered as a social sector. The government and investment firms argued that China’s public healthcare infrastructure is unable to satisfy demands, which have been increased due to the raising affluent middle class and the aging population.

    Last December, the Chinese administration called for more private investments in the healthcare sector and declared healthcare removed from the list of restricted investment sectors. Private healthcare investment firms are coming up in such a sector, where patients have to queue for a long time to receive a bad hospital care. The system is in many ways inadequate in serving the public’s needs. For instance, in public hospitals, consultations last an average of five minutes, compared to more than 20 minutes in the USA.

    China’s healthcare sector is divided between several public hospitals, private hospitals, foreign hospitals and clinics, either through joint ventures or full ownership. China’s population resorts to the country’s large public hospitals, where they are available. The best services are usually associated with universities, such as Peking Uni­versity in Beijing or Fudan University in Shanghai.

    Owing to the fact that public services are not enough to face the raised demands, more efforts have to be done in order to improve the private healthcare sector: doctors should be enticed to work in private settings and consumers should be able to trust doctors in private facilities.

    The trust issue is related to doctors’ salary. In 2011, a survey, conducted by the China Medical Doctor’s Association, showed that the majority of the doctors were not satisfied with their salaries and working conditions. According to the survey’s data, doctors made an average of RMB 2,000 per month. That is the reason why many doctors have supplemented their low salaries with bribes from patients and kickbacks from pharmaceutical firms, overprescribing medications and treatments to generate income.

    China’s healthcare privatization is still in the experimental phase. Two aspects must be highlighted: China should experiment nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities, where patients’ care can easily be administered by a nurse or other similarly certified professional in a different setting than a public hospital. Foreign owned hospitals or clinics could play an important role on the matter: the ideal arrangement would be the establishment of a referral system between the local public hospital and various categories of step-down care facilities.

    The second aspect is referred to the ageing issue. The China National Committee on Aging said that, by 2053,  the number of China’s senior citizens is expected to grow to 487 million people, or 35% of the population, compared to just over 12% now. The adult children of aging parents are not practicing the traditional parental care methods anymore. Due to the fact that they are busy and employed, they are keen to spend money to solve the problem. According to Jim Moore, the founder of Moore Diversified Services Inc. (MDS), a US-based consultancy in senior care, foreign investment firms could entry in the Chinese field of senior housing and acute senior care facilities.

     

    The gLAWcal Team
    Monday, June 2, 2014
    (Source: CKGSB KNOWLEDGE)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • THE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES OF THE MIGRATION PATTERNS IN CHINA

    A new report has shown that China has recently stressed its commitment working with the international community to overcome the increase in the number of people heading to the country, one of the major challenges caused by changing migration patterns.

    The 2013 World Migration Report has shown that there were 685,775 migrants to China in 2010, an increase of 35 percent from 2000. Additionally, data have revealed that the number of foreigners holding residence permits in China in 2010 rose by about 29 percent, compared with the figure for 2006.

    In relation to that, irregular migration management and a shortage of skilled migrants represent the most urgent and challenging issues that the Chinese government has to face.

    According to the report, in recent years China was not only a place of origin of migrants to other countries, but also a country of transit and destination for migrants, particularly due to rapid economic growth and demographic changes.

    The report has also highlighted that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has supported the Ministry of Public Security in China, providing expertise and cutting-edge technology for migration management, stressing also the importance to think about migration in terms of human mobility and to recognize basic human needs. Moreover, the IOM has strongly helped Chinese authorities to significantly reduce the number of illegal immigrants. In this way, the objective of the organization is to create dialogue between countries and reduce immigration tension before it became a political matter.

    Recently, the organization has played a crucial role in many cases of human trafficking from African and South American countries to China repatriating those being trafficked who were mostly women.

    In addition to that, the report has also observed the significant change of the dominant pattern of people migrating from developing to developed countries: less than half of global migration currently occurs from the developing to the developed countries. As a consequence, the number of people who migrate from developed to developing countries has importantly increased.

    The enormous economic growth has made China an increasingly attractive destination, leading to a rise in wages and greater demand for foreign labor However, this economic development was not reflected proportionately in the number of foreigners working in the country.

    In this context, a Beijing think tank - the Center for China and Globalization - has stressed that the government has the task to undertake changes in order to establish a more friendly and attractive environment for foreign talent, as an incentive to drive the country’s development.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Wednesday, 4 June 2014

    (Source: ChinaDaily)

  • PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY ISSUE DISCUSSED AT THE EUROPEAN BUSINESS SUMMIT 2014

    Europe's pharmaceutical industry employs around 700,000 people and stands for 17% of Europe's investments in research and development. The industry is trying to increase the EU's industrial GDP target and the EU should make this goal a priority to keep a sustainable environment for the industry,  as representatives stated at the European Business Summit 2014 on Thursday 15 May.

    Paola Testori Coggi, director-general of DG Health and Consumers (SANCO), said that the Commission has made excellent proposals for a new regulation for the pharmaceutical industry, but that the proposals are sometimes prevented by the Council and member states. As she told pharmaceutical manufactures, health ministers often have a weak voice in government and most of them are keen to cut healthcare costs, even though they usually argue that health is an investment for their countries.

    The pharmaceutical industry has helped EU citizens live longer lives, but in order to also keep making them live longer and healthier lives, member states need to have a fully integrated and sustainable healthcare approach.

    The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the European Generic medicines Association (EGA) jointly presented proposals to the Summit for an integrated EU industrial policy for the pharmaceutical sector.

    It is important to recognize that medicines are essential to improve patient outcomes and equity of access to healthcare across Europe. It is necessary to support a more sustainable and predictable business environment to incentivize the pharmaceutical industry to invest in bringing better and more cost-effective treatments to patients and  improve an environment that will make the EU an attractive global environment for pharmaceutical research and manufacturing.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    (Source: Pharma Times)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • USA TURNING POINT TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT

    The US government has recently announced the launch of a new plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants and promote cap-and-trade, that will represent the most ambitious and challenging action to fight climate change in American history.

    The new strategy will be a concrete instrument to reduce carbon pollution by as much as 25% from about 1,600 power plants in operation, the government says.

    Data show that power plants are the major source of carbon pollution causing 40% of the country's emissions.

    The new plan drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency has been welcomed as a turning point to significantly curb the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for climate change.

    According to the US President Barack Obama, the new program will drive the country to concretely reach its climate commitments, in line with the international environmental goals. In relation to this, the new plan stresses the US aim to be at the forefront in the global framework to stop pollution, addressing the criticism expressed by some groups about the possible negative cost of cutting carbon.

    Moreover, the plan will represent a step forward overcoming the historical US denial about the impact of climate change mostly due to the strong opposition of Republicans and some Democrats in Congress and to an industry-funded misinformation campaign. In this way, this strategy could entail important emission reductions guiding the country near the 17% Obama proposed at the Copenhagen climate summit.

    The objective to reduce pollution would be achieved closing the oldest and most polluting coal plants. As the EPA administrator has outlined, the plan will allow states leeway in the concrete measures to reach the reduction targets, such as the installation of carbon-sucking retrofits, the development of wind and solar energy and the improvement of the electrical grid.

    As the government has highlighted, this program will represent the first concrete climate action plan to strongly cut pollution by building a clean energy economy and driving in this way the energy system to be less carbon intensive.

    As climate change represents one of the main threat for human health, the new regulations, the core pillar of Obama's climate plan, would cut down on soot and smog as well as carbon dioxide emissions, with significant benefits for thousands of Americans.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Monday, 2 June 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • GLOBAL FORCED LABOUR GENERATES $150BN A YEAR IN ILLEGAL PROFITS

    According to the UN's International Labour Organisation, the figure is three times higher than previously thought

    Forced labour generates illegal profits of $150bn a year worldwide. Millions of people face lucrative scale of exploitation and they are trapped in modern-day slavery, coerced employment and trafficking.

    The study made by UN's International Labour Organization revealed that almost two-third of the total profits are generated by commercial sexual exploitation, and the rest  come from forced economic labour, such as domestic work, construction and mining.

    Based on ILO's estimation, more than half of the 21 million people experiencing forced labour, trafficking and modern-day slavery are women and girls mainly in commercial sexual exploitation. Whilst, men are mostly exploited in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, utilities and mining- sectors that add up to $43bn of the annual illegal profits. Private households that either do not pay or underpay domestic workers are responsible for the remaining $8bn.

    The Asia-Pacific region has the highest annual profits from forced labour (($51.8bn), followed closely by the developed economies and the EU($46.9bn), then central and south-eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States($18bn);, Africa($13.1bn);, Latin America and the Caribbean($12bn) and the Middle East($8.5bn).

    The main factors which push people into forced labour are sudden income shocks, while illiteracy, a lack of education, gender and migration are contributory factors in the process.

    According to ILO director-general, Guy Ryder, the study helps reach  better comprehension of forced labour and slavery to a new level and urged leaders to redouble their efforts to eliminate this fundamentally evil, but extremely profitable practice.

    'If we want to make a significant change in the lives of the 21 million men, women and children in forced labour, we need to take concrete and immediate action,' he said. 'That means working with governments to strengthen law, policy and enforcement, with employers to strengthen their due diligence against forced labour, including in their supply chains, and with trade unions to represent and empower those at risk.'

    Beate Andrees, the head of the ILO'S special action programme to combat forced labour stressed the significance of reducing the vulnerability of unprivileged people most at risk. 'While progress is being made in reducing state-imposed forced labour, we must now focus on the socioeconomic factors that make people vulnerable to forced labour in the private sector,' she said.

    Furthemore, Andrees delineated crucial measures, including social security guarantees to protect poor households from abusive lending or indenture, improving educational level and investing in training to increase job opportunities for vulnerable workers, protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers.

    Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, highlighted the fact that the report revealed not only the persistence of slavery in the world, but also the modern economy's  dependence on it. 'We have to realise that the problem of slavery is one that touches us all, as in a globalised economy we all buy products likely to be tainted by forced labour,' he said.

    This is the reason why the urgent actions should be taken immediately. A good exemplary can be the introduction of the UK government's modern slavery bill extraterritorial legislation to force business executives responsible for slavery in their supply chains, and by supporting a binding protocol on the International Labour Organization convention on forced labour to strengthen international standards against it.

    The process is especially shocking, as human trafficking is the fastest-growing form of international crime and the third-largest criminal industry in the world.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    The 20th of May 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • SHENZHEN LAUNCHES FIRST EMISSION TRADING SCHEME IN CHINA

    On June 18th, Shenzhen became the first Chinese city to adopt a pilot trading scheme to reduce gradually carbon emissions.

    Once completed, the Chinese  cap and trade mechanism will involve seven provinces, accounting for the second largest worldwide.

    Though the shift from a command and control limit to a market scheme echoes the European Union ETS, a definite emission cap is a  prerequisite for the project to be effective.

    To face this issue, Chinese authorities set up a target for carbon emissions related to GDP unit.

    Precisely, 100 mln tonnes of carbon were allocated among the 635 involved companies, including Huawei Electronics and Petrochina.

    Despite representing a 30% reduction in emissions per unit of output, the project’s effectiveness cannot be taken at face value.

    This target, in fact, is just a general guideline, whereas the precise amount of authorized emissions will eventually depend on the production levels performed by each company.

    As pointed out by analysts from Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, the threshold of 100 mln tonnes is already 10 mln tonnes higher than the amount the companies were likely to reach between 2013 and 2015.

    This policy will probably cause a sharp decline in the market permits’ value, thus compromising the emission trading scheme’s effectiveness.

    However, the Shenzhen experiment is just the first attempt to gradually introduce a compulsory emission cap.

    After establishing a limit on coal output with the 11th five years plan (2006-2010), China introduced a cap on total energy consumption for the following five years.

    From 2016 to 2020 the country is expected to adopt an absolute carbon cap, unrelated to GDP, in order to put in place a more effective emissions trading scheme between 2021 and 2025.

    This seems a fairly good result, when considering that European ETS has been running for over ten years, but still has little to show for it.

    The gLAWcal team

    June 22, 2013

    (Source: The Economist)

  • A NEW ERA FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN CHINA

    The common-held view describing China as an hostile environment for intellectual property is likely to be discarded in the near future.

    Despite the notorious problems of infringement and counterfeiting endured by foreign right holders, recent economic and social development are enhancing the importance of IPR in the country.

    One may recall, for instance, that China has become the second largest economic global power.

    So much so that the growth alone in China's economy in the last twelve months is equivalent to that of Italy's GDP and Chinese household income is forecast to grow 50% by 2015.

    In other words, a sound enforcement of copyright and industrial property rights is rapidly becoming a national priority.

    After introducing a complete legal framework for the protection of intangible assets in the last decades, Chinese government is currently fostering the so called “knowledge economy”, emphasizing the role of technical progress in driving growth.

    With the ambitious goal of building an innovative society by 2020, China is adopting tax breaks and R&D subsidies in key industrial sector, in order to reduce the reliance on foreign-acquired technologies and develop the indigenous innovation.

    These measures are expected to back the country’s future economic performance and reverse the trend of royalties payment to western companies for high tech invention patent .

    To boost domestic competitiveness, some local governments dispose total refunds of research costs for the inventor: this policy has already determined a notable increase in patent application, and in a few years China is likely to become the first patent filer worldwide.

    The Chinese government has also taken relevant steps in the field of enforcement, by cracking down on counterfeiting and introducing  a system of specialized People’s Court, which deals exclusively with IPR disputes.

    Of course several problems remain: the size of the country makes it unrealistic to obtain uniform enforcement and the minor socio-economic development in the inner provinces still fuels the counterfeiting industry.

    However, a proper regulatory framework allows foreign business to apply for trademark and patents to administrative agencies by means of an authorized Chinese agent: to avoid pitfalls, applicants are advised to use due diligence in drafting their claim and building an IPR portfolio in China.

    As the IP’s relevance is growing steadily in China, both foreign and domestic businesses are increasingly able to fully profit from their intangible assets.

    Gaining access to the future most important global market is a unique opportunities for western companies, who are in serious needs for a China IP strategy.  

    The gLAWcal team

    June 22, 2013

    (Source: James & Wells Intellectual Property)

  • CHINA RESORTS TO DESALINIZATION TREATMENTS TO PROVIDE NEW WATER RESOURCES

    The Chinese Central Government announced new investments, of at least $3.3bn, to finance new desalinization plants in the arid lands around Tianjin, to treat salt water from the Bohai Sea, ensuring fresh sources of water to the region.

    Over the past few years, the government has already invested tens of billions of dollars in other plans to solve the daunting issues of water scarcity characterizing the regions surrounding Beijing and Tianjin.

    Desalinization is an appealing solution, since it is expected to triple the amount of processed sea water available for human use by 2015. However, it is no panacea, warn environmentalists. Not only the desalinization process implies a great use of energy, but the plants will be dependent on coal combustion, thus worsening the already dramatic situation of air pollution in Beijing and Tianjin. However, central government assured that desalinization plants will rely on re-cycled energy thus reducing carbon emissions.

    Desalinization plants seem to be a “quick fix solution”, as stated by Beijing-based environmentalist Zhang Junfeng. The Chinese government’ strategy should rather rely on more cost-effective means to address national water scarcity than costly water-diversion infrastructures or industrial water treatment processes. More efforts should be also put in encouraging the population to save water and to reduce waste.

    The gLAWcal team 

    June 19, 2013

    (Source: BBC news )

     

  • CHINESE WATER DIVERSION PROJECT TESTED FOR THE FIRST TIME

    The eastern part of the project, transferring water from Jiangdu in Jiangsu Province to Shandong Province along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal was tested this week, after eleven years since the beginning of the project.

    The China “Water Diversion Project”, a pumping infrastructure, diverting water from the South to the North of the country, was designed to tackle issues of water shortages in the north of the country.
    Water resources indeed are unequally allocated across the Chinese territory. According to ChinaWater risk, a Hong Kong based non-profit initiative, 77 percent of the surface water resources are based in the Southern regions, while the North can only rely upon ground water resources that are under pressure as their recharging takes long time.

    The infrastructure is designed to pump almost 45 billion cubic metres of water a year from the Yangtze River and its basin and to divert the water to the northern region, enriching the Yellow river water flow.

    The Government has been pushing ahead the programme and has planned to open, within the next year, the middle route, designed to supply water from Hubei province to cities in the north including Beijing and Tianjin, and the western route which is supposed to use water diverted from the upper reaches of the Yangtze to replenish the Yellow River.

    However concern about the environmental and social impact of the Water Diversion programme is raising.

    Ma Jun, Director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs of Beijing, warned that the project will affect the Yangtze ecosystem and worsen water quality as a consequence of water scarcity.

    Moreover, due to climate change, the weather pattern is dramatically changing: the South has been experiencing droughts, while rainfalls are expected to increase in the North. No wonder then that environmentalists keep questioning the usefulness of the project.

    The project also seriously jeopardized the right to housing of people living around the Danjiangkou Reservoir. About 350,000 persons were forced to leave their dwellings in Hubei and Henan provinces and to resettle in other places.

    Criticism also arises fromtheUS government. US diplomatic cables released under Wikileaks, argued that Chinese government should resort to saving water agricultural techniques rather than investing in expensive diverting water engineering infrastructure.

    Chinese strategy to tackle water scarcity includes also other measures, such as desalinization targets to make water in the coastal cities drinkable and water re-use and re-cycle policies, but clearly the government will give priority to this controversial project, regardless the negative implications it is expected to have.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    June 8, 2013

    (Source: The Guardian Environment)

     

     

  • CHINA RETALIATES AGAINST EU WINE EXPORTS

    The long lasting commercial dispute concerning the tariffs set up by the EU on imported Chinese solar panels recently reached a new stage, with the announcement from Chinese authorities of an anti-dumping trade investigation against European wine exports.

    The decision of Beijing has been widely interpreted as a retaliation, that simply ignores the recent lowering of duties disposed by the EU on Chinese solar panels. The business community obviously points out that this escalation is not beneficial to bilateral commercial ties and impairs European wine producers, as China is the fastest growing wine market globally.

    The European Union claims that no dumping of wine on the Chinese market has ever occurred, but it has failed to express a common point of view: despite being the first exporter of wine to China, France recently supported the application of a 47 percent tariffs on Chinese solar panels, against the advice of Germany.
    This lack of common grounds resulted in the adoption of provisional tariffs at 11,8 percent until August, scheduled to increase to 47 percentafterwards, if no settlement is reached through bilateral negotiations.

    Beijing upholds the legitimacy of the anti-dumping investigation, due to rising complaints from domestic wine makers, affected by the surge of European wine imports. On its side, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce declared its will for bilateral commercial ties with the EU to remain strong in spite of the event.

    Mr. Louis Fabrice Latour, chairman of the French Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters, who represents the interests of the majority of wine producers, reports that this vital economic sector has unfairly been the victim of Sino-European trade disputes.

    The French Government declares through the Minister of Agriculture its support of wine makers concerns, as the country holds the biggest market share on Chinese wine market.

    However, Chinese observers affirm that domestic demand for European wines is likely to keep growing notwithstanding the soaring duties, as foreign spirits are already heavily taxed when entering in China.

    French producers sincerely hope that this optimistic prevision may come true, as the country sales of wine to China grew sixfold between 2007 and 2011.

    The gLAWcal team

    June 5th, 2013

    (Source: Financial Times)