AllAboutLaw Blog: UK greenhouse gas emission target, Hong Kong extradition law, and more

Welcome to the third edition of AllAboutLaw’s weekly blog! This week, we briefly look at legislation aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions to a net zero, as well as the Hong Kong extradition law and the use of surveillance technology.

  • Last updated Jul 9, 2019 2:31:07 PM
  • Tuula Petersen
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Legislation in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a net zero by 2050

To mark her last week at Downing Street, Theresa May is working hard to forge a domestic legacy. The Government plan put forward by May will make the UK the first G7 Country to legally commit to cutting its carbon emissions to a net zero. The legislation mirrors the assurances made by three Conservative-leadership hopefuls—Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Rory Stewart—who have pledged to give people the the legal right to breathe clean air.

In support of this legislation, the Committee on Climate Change forecast significant benefits associated with a reduction in carbon emissions, such as improvements in public health, savings to the NHS, less noise pollution and improved biodiversity. In order to guarantee the legislation’s success and ensure UK industries do not face unfair competition, it is imperative that other major economies follow suit.

In order to achieve a net zero level of carbon emission by 2050, the UK would have to change drastically its consumption habits at all levels of society. Most notably, the heating of homes with traditional gas boilers would have to be completely eradicated. Such a target would also require a switch to electric modes of transportation and a reduction in meat consumption.

However, many have been quick to criticise the ambitious new scheme as simply a “legacy vanity project”, and that the expected cost of such a proposal would far outweigh the obvious environmental benefits. Phillip Hammond is said to have attempted to block the new piece of legislation under the pretext it would cost the Treasury in excess of £1 trillion.

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  “The study of law can be disappointing at times, a matter of applying narrow rules and arcane procedure to an uncooperative reality; a sort of glorified accounting that serves to regulate the affairs of those who have power—and that all too often seeks to explain, to those who do not, the ultimate wisdom and justness of their condition. But that’s not all the law is. The law is also memory; the law also records a long-running conversation, a nation arguing with its conscience.” Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

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Firm news

Creditors seek £26.5 million from collapsed Asons Solicitors firm. The figure has jumped from the £3.2 originally listed in April 2017 weeks after the firm shut down.

Linklaters are starting a "virtual internship" in which students from any university, background or degree can subscribe to their online programme.

Recent research shows average earnings for partners at UK law firms have increased by 35% since 2014, with partners earning on average £201,000 in 2018.

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Ministers warned legislation must be put into place in response to “explosion” of surveillance technology

Britain’s surveillance watchdog has criticised ministers for failing to effectively monitor an "explosion" of spy technology. The surveillance camera commissioner expressed his disbelief regarding the lack of any piece of legislation controlling the use of various surveillance technologies. Automated CCTV cameras have been accused of inaccuracy and prone to racial bias.

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Hong Kong suspends extradition law, but this proves insufficient for protesters

The largest number of protesters since 1989 took to the streets of Hong Kong following the decision of the city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, to indefinitely suspend the extradition law.The protesters demanded the bill be totally withdrawn, amid anger over the police’s use of force. Videos were in circulation suggesting the use of police force was disproportionate to the actions of the protesters.

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Recommended reading

1. A record number of EU arrest warrants have been issued for suspects wanted by the police in the UK.

2. Members of the women’s US football team have more on their mind than just the World Cup: they are suing the US Soccer Federation over gender discrimination.

3. Lax regulation has made the town of Carpinteria the unlikely capital of California’s legal pot market.

4. Amanda Knox discusses her murder conviction and her tria l by media..

5.  First 100 Years' podcast marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time.

1. A legal challenge over the UK’s arms sales to Yemen combatants could put further pressure on Australia’s defence exports.

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