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Showing posts from October, 2016

Balticconnector gets Go-Ahead - improving energy security or waste of subsidies?

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The European Commission announced on Friday 21 October that a first bi-directional gas pipeline will be built between Finland and Estonia. According to the EU, the offshore gas-pipeline between the two states will end `gas isolation` of Finland by connecting it to the continental European network and increasing the security of gas supply and solidarity in the region, see: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-3476_en.htm




Although the pipeline will be build by the Estonian TSO Elering http://gaas.elering.ee/en/balticconnector/, the EU is footing 75 per cent  of the bill, because the project would not be commercially viable without massive EU support. The money is coming from the EU`s `Connecting Europe Facility Energy (CEF-Energy), http://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/connecting-europe-facility/cef-energy.  According to  the EU, Finland is going to profit the most, as its current `gas isolation` from the European market would be tackled and its energy security improved: http://europa.e…

Germany ceases Gas-Imports from the Netherlands by 2029

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The German government decided to end the current practice of importing Dutch gas by 1 October 2029, according to the German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur  http://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/cln_1421/DE/Sachgebiete/ElektrizitaetundGas/Verbraucher/NetzanschlussUndMessung/UmstellungGasbeschaffenheit/UmstellungGasqualitaet-node.html(German language version only). This decision requires a switch of the German gas infrastructure away from the use of Low calorific Gas (L-Gas). Currently almost 5 million gas customers in Germany are using L-Gas, whereas all  other German customers are being supplied with High calorific Gas (H-Gas) from Norway, Russia and Great Britain. The use of L-Gas is still widespread in the German state of Lower Saxony (where the biggest part of German domestic  gas production is taking place) and along the border with the Netherlands.
According to the German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur gas production in the Netherlands and Germany is in steep decline and a swi…

Urgenda Foundation v The Netherlands (C/09/456689 / HA ZA 13-1396) - Case Comment

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Much has been written about the infamous Urgenda-case, in which the Urgenda Foundation successfully challenged the Dutch government to adopt more stringent climate policies. http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2015:7196 For the first time a court forced a government to amend its climate change goals. The district court of The Hague found the current government`s approach insufficient to reduce the Dutch share in global emissions. The appeal of the government is still pending.
I wrote a little piece on one particular aspect of the verdict, the interplay between the precautionary principle and climate change policies.

Almost 200 countries agree to ban the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced earlier today that nearly 200 countries struck a landmark deal  to reduce the emission of a powerful greenhouse gas, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in a move that could prevent up to 0.5 degrees celsius of global warming by the end of this century, see: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=27086&ArticleID=36283&l=en

UNEP claims that:
`The amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer endorsed in Kigali today is the single largest contribution the world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at the Paris climate conference last year.
"Last year in Paris, we promised to keep the world safe from the worst effects of climate change. Today, we are following through on that promise," said UN Environment chief Erik Solheim.
"This is about much more than the ozone layer and HFCs. It …

Livestream ICSID Case Vattenfall v Germany (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/12)

The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is currently engaged in hearings in the case Vattenfall v Germany. ICSID is providing a livestream of the hearings: https://icsid.worldbank.org/apps/ICSIDWEB/Pages/News.aspx?CID=211&ListID=74f1e8b5-96d0-4f0a-8f0c-2f3a92d84773&variation=en_us
This arbitration is concerned with the aftermaths of Germany´s decision to phase out nuclear power. The company Vattenfall argues that the way in which the German government implemented that decision amounts to expropriation. The case is primed to be groundbreaking and will set an important precedence on the leeway of a state to phase out nuclear power and the resulting financial damages for companies.

New Article ´Shale Gas Extraction, Precaution and Prevention: A Conversation on Regulatory Responses´

My colleague Leonie Reins and me just wrote an article on shale gas extraction and its regulation under the precautionary and the preventive principle. The article may be accessed via: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1TogH7tZ6ZbhGy
Shale gas in the EU and its Member States faces increasing attention from a regulatory perspective. Questions about the role of law regarding the development of shale gas extraction in Europe are being asked. The role of law within science, as Laurie et al. suggest, involves an important decision: “whether the law is an enabler or a prohibitor of technologies” (Laurie, G., Harmon, S.H., Arzuaga, F., ‘Foresighting Futures: Law, New Technologies, and the Challenges of Regulating for Uncertainty’ 4 Law, Innovation and Technology 1 (2012), 1–33, at 10), At best, the law should promote the development of a technology without unduly compromising the protection of society and the environment from consequences of uncertainties and potential threats of an as…

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