On March 1, Australian officials announced that a large Hong Kong-flagged ship, which was chartered by the Bintan Mining Company to carry bauxite for aluminum production, has run aground next to a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Solomon Islands and has been leaking oil since February 5. Australian experts estimate that more than 80 tons of oil has leaked into the sea and shoreline in ecologically sensitive area and more than 660 tons of oil remain aboard the ship. Both Australia and New Zealand have sent experts to help monitor the spill.
Fourteen Pacific Island countries are considering an expansive new climate treaty at the annual leaders’ summit of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF). Pacific Island nations are considered some of the most vulnerable to climate change effects and have pushed strongly for significant climate action. The proposed legal model, written by the Pacific Island Climate Action Network, would be the first international treaty to ban or phase out fossil fuels.
United Nations conservation delegates agreed last Thursday to penalize seven nations for lax wildlife measures, suspending the nations' ability to legally trade tens of thousands of species. The sanctions, which will go into effect October 1, will take place under the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and will prevent the trade of 35,000 species.