New year new rules: What changed around globe after 1 january
Pasbanan- Saudis and Emiratis will pay more tax, the Swiss will pay less, Brits will start taking more expensive train journeys and China will stop taking in the world’s rubbish. These are some of the changes that will take effect as the world ticks over into a new year.
In the US, New Yorkers will receive a more generous family leave entitlement, and more than 40 years after the summer of love, Californians will from New Year’s Day finally be able to buy marijuana legally for recreational purposes. Some national parks will be more expensive to visit. It is all change at the helm of the world’s big trading blocs and axes, as Bulgaria has its first crack at presiding over the EU council a chance for the EU’s poorest member state to chair meetings and set its agenda.
Argentina, meanwhile, takes over the G20 presidency Elsewhere, it will be harder to become Swiss, and more expensive to stay in Greece and Hawaii because of new tourist taxes, and if you are driving in Ukraine, you will find urban speed limits reduced from 60km/h to 50km/h.
Finland may be about to get a little boozier, as stronger alcohol is allowed in grocery stores. Seattle, meanwhile, will step up the battle against obesity with a sugar tax. Perhaps one of the most striking changes, with global implications, is China’s decision to stop importing a wide range of plastic and other waste. China has long been a repository for waste materials from around the world, as its hungry economy hoovers up all the resources it can get.
In 2016, China imported 7.3m tonnes of waste plastics. Developed countries will need to figure out what will happen to all those jettisoned bottles and containers.
This is not the only new year regulation that will affect the environment. In London, all new black cabs must be able to run on electric power, which is aimed at reducing high levels of nitrogen oxide and tiny particles in the air.
In Europe, all gas and wood-burning stoves must comply with strict emissions and energy efficiency rules. Open fires will no longer be allowed to be sold in EU member states. There will be tighter regulation of fertilisers, more fish protected by EU quotas in the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, and a new law taxing pollution in China.
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency is introducing various new standards. Any technician who wants to maintain, repair or dispose of appliances with HFCs will have to pass an exam, with the sale of HFCs restricted to certified outlets. The EPA estimates that the rules will reduce greenhouse gas emissions annually by 7.3m tonnes – roughly equivalent to taking 1.5m cars off the road a year.