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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Whatever solidarity there may have been in European countries toward consistent climate policies seems to be gone.

First, the UK backtracked on it’s schedule for phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles. Then, echoing Rishi Sunak’s claim of the economic hardship on citizens that would come from those UK EV mandates, Germany’s green economy and climate minister Robert Habeck announced that Germany “has agreed to suspend the planned introduction of tighter building efficiency standards in order to boost the construction of affordable housing.”

“Habeck called high interest rates and inflation ‘a heavy burden’ for the construction industry, and said the government needed to focus on affordable housing and provide a boost for the building sector. ‘Orders are collapsing and for many the family the dream of owning their own home is in danger of being dashed. All this in a period in which housing is scarce and expensive.'”

Going in the other direction is France, according to ESGToday, which is embarking on an

“… ‘ecological plan’ to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, in line with the EU’s interim climate goals. According to the President’s presentation of the plan, reaching the 2030 goal will require a major acceleration in the country’s GHG emissions reduction progress, ramping to 5% per year through 2030, from around 2% annually over the past 5 years.”

Germany and the UK are examples of surprise reversals of policy that may have been embedded in corporate climate assumptions. These seem to be speeding up even in the face of increasing climate disruptions/disasters globally. Will France be able to meet it’s ecological plan, or will it too backtrack in 12-24 months? Maybe for the near term, governments are not wholly prepared to make hard decisions and stick to them – especially in times of economic uncertainty. As if there isn’t already enough complexity in developing corporate climate assumptions and business strategies…

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile