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Climate | 12 March 2019

20 ways to protect the planet in 2017
Wildlife & habitats
Air pollution

20 ways to protect the planet in 2017

Here at ClientEarth we have achieved a great deal over the course of 2016. From our victory on air pollution against the UK Government, to blocking Europe’s largest new coal power plant, our successes will benefit millions of people across the world.

In 2017, we will build on our successes and continue to use the law to protect people and the planet.

In this post, each of our teams looks forward to the New Year. In 2017, we need to see:

On wildlife:

  • A guarantee from the UK Government that it will maintain and enhance the laws protecting British wildlife and habitats.
  • An action plan from the European Commission to improve implementation of EU laws that protect vulnerable plants and animals.
  • No resurrection of the Polish Government’s plans to treble logging in Bialowieza Forest, the last European primeval forest.

On energy:

  • Governments and investors must shift finance away from dirty energy. We need cleaner ways to source and supply power, using innovative technologies to meet demand in 2017.
  • The European Commission must end subsidies that give fossil fuel companies the means to continue polluting. This will ensure public money is only spent on clean energy.
  • We want an EU energy market that: promotes the sharing of energy resources between Member States; supports efficiency and flexibility for a renewable-led transition; and secures a strong active role for people making and selling energy.
  • In all, we need a strong climate and energy governance system which will ensure that the EU meets its carbon targets.

For our forests:

  • We need stronger, more consistent enforcement of the EU’s illegal logging law.
  • Governments in timber-producing countries must continue to improve civil society participation in forest law reform.
  • We’re working for a shared, global understanding of the risks created by weak laws on forest conversion: namely deforestation, violations of local community rights and illegality.

From companies and the finance sector:

  • Climate risk must be priced into the markets by businesses and their investors. This means that companies comply with – and regulators properly enforce – obligations to disclose information on the risks that come from climate change.

For our oceans:

  • We need fishing quotas which limit catches to sustainable levels, with better technical rules on fishing, and a continued phase-in of the ban on throwing unwanted fish overboard.
  • For a more sustainable seafood supply chain, we need support and investment from industry leaders in responsible business practices.
  • In the UK, we want clearer commitments from the government that environmental protections for UK marine species and habitats will not be lost once the UK leaves the EU.

For people’s access to justice and transparency:

  • We need to see openness and transparency from the EU institutions and national governments. They must embrace the public’s right to access environmental information.
  • We would also like the EU to ensure that individuals and non-governmental organisations can access its courts to enforce their rights.

In the everyday products we use:

  • We need to see an end to damaging chemicals getting onto the market and into everyday goods.

For the air that we all breathe:

  • We need to see governments across Europe taking urgent action to meet legal air pollution limits in the shortest possible time.
  • In the UK, we need immediate action to tackle air pollution from road transport through an effective national network of clean air zones that will keep the dirtiest vehicles out of towns and cities.
  • For the UK to fully succeed in cleaning up its air, we need the UK government to commit to a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century.

ClientEarth will continue to fight for the environment to make these things a reality in 2017.

Help us keep fighting for the environment.