International Update Volume all, Issue 15
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<p><span><span><span><span>Last week, the Government of Canada began the public engagement phase of its National Adaptation Strategy. The strategy is Canada’s first-ever framework meant to address and adapt to climate change impacts. From May to July of 2022, the government is seeking public comment related to short-term action that can support longer-term goals and address adaptation priorities.

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<p style="text-align: left;" align="center">On May 20, the Arctic Council held their 12<sup>th</sup> ministerial meeting in Reykjavik, convening the foreign ministers of the eight Arctic States.

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<p style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman',serif; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;">On May 11, Brazil deployed 3,800 troops to protect the Amazon rainforest as deforestation surged ahead of the high season for forest fires.

<p>The United Kingdom has created 41 new marine conservation zones, ranging from Studland Bay near Bournemouth to the Goodwin Sands off the Deal coast in Kent. The newly-protected areas will cover 4,633 square miles of marine habitat, bringing the total number of marine protected areas around the British coastline to 355. Among the species and habitats that will benefit from the new protections are the short-snouted seahorse, the ocean quahog, ross worm reefs, and blue mussel beds.

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<p>Chile has finalized an agreement to publicly share data from its satellite system for monitoring fishing boats to, among other things, support its disease prevention program. The country will share the data through an online interactive mapping platform called Global Fishing Watch that tracks ship movements across the globe. The data will enable fisheries managers to monitor vessels to help prevent the spread of disease in the salmon aquaculture industry and to keep an eye on Chile's jack mackerel population.

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<p>On May 30, UN Environment presented a 20-year strategy to Guyanese President David Granger that is aimed at advancing sustainable economic growth in Guyana while preserving the country's vast natural capital. The comprehensive policy is focused on reorienting and diversifying the Caribbean nation's economy, as well as opening new sustainable income and investment opportunities in green sectors with higher added value.

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<p>One-third of the world's protected lands are being degraded by human activities and are not fit for their purpose, according to a new study in the journal <em>Science</em>. Global efforts to care for natural heritage by creating protected zones have, in general, been a huge conservation success story. Since the Convention on Biological Diversity was ratified in 1992, the areas under protection have doubled in size and now amount to almost 15% of the lands and 8% of the oceans.

<p>Last week, in a series of moves related to air quality, the European Commission proposed measures to help member states combat air pollution. The Commission also referred France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the EU Court of Justice for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. In addition, it referred Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter.

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<p>Last week, in a series of moves related to air quality, the European Commission proposed measures to help member states combat air pollution. The Commission also referred France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the EU Court of Justice for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. In addition, it referred Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter.

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<p>Last week, in a series of moves related to air quality, the European Commission proposed measures to help member states combat air pollution. The Commission also referred France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the EU Court of Justice for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. In addition, it referred Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter.

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<p>Last week, in a series of moves related to air quality, the European Commission proposed measures to help member states combat air pollution. The Commission also referred France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the EU Court of Justice for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. In addition, it referred Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter.

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<p>Last week, in a series of moves related to air quality, the European Commission proposed measures to help member states combat air pollution. The Commission also referred France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the EU Court of Justice for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. In addition, it referred Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter.

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<p>Swiss citizens will get the chance to vote on a complete ban on the use of synthetic pesticides. More than 100,000 Swiss signed the call for a ban that would apply to all farmers, industries and imported foods. If the vote is passed, Switzerland would become only the second country after Bhutan to implement a full ban. Just a few weeks ago, the EU agreed to a near-total ban on the use of neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world.

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<p>Canada announced that it planned to impose a cap on pollution in provinces that refuse to adopt a national price on carbon. Last December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached a deal with 8 of the 10 provinces to introduce a carbon price to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, and threatened to impose it on holdout provinces. Thursday, the government proposed a tax on fossil fuels that would increase annually. Under Trudeau's plan, carbon pollution would cost $10 a ton in 2018, rising by $10 a year until it reaches $50 in 2022.

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<p>The EU will provide 800 million euros to help 79 African, Pacific, and Caribbean nations implement a global climate deal. The package is a response to U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to quit the Paris Agreement. The EU will also provide 3 million euros to support Fiji, which will oversee United Nations negotiations in 2018. The European Commission did not detail how the rest of the money would be spent.

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<p>Encouraged by the Colombian peace process promising infrastructure advancement across the country, local citizens and municipal governments have started construction to expand the road to Miraflores, Colombia. The 138-kilometer road was carved illegally through rainforest and used by the FARC rebel group to transport coca, from which cocaine is produced. Conservationists argue that the road widening threatens the Nukak community, who have lost their sacred territories used to hunt and fish.

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<p>Ollanta Humala, the President of Peru, declared a 20-day emergency in the Madre de Dios region in an attempt to curb mercury poisoning from illegal gold mining. Miners searching for gold illegally use mercury to separate rock from ore; they often handle the toxin with their bare hands, breathe it in when it is burned, and dump it into Peruvian rivers, destroying rainforest areas. The Madre de Dios region’s residents have dangerously high levels of mercury in their bodies. Indigenous and rural communities are most vulnerable to the toxins because they are subsistence fishers.

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<p>Poland adopted a law banning the construction of wind farms near homes. Under the new law, wind farms are required to be built at a distance that is at least 10 times the height of the turbine. The move could stunt Poland’s efforts in renewable energy, as the ban will result in higher costs for wind farm construction projects. Additionally, the new law will result in a hike in property taxes for owners of wind farms, which industry representatives commented could trigger bankruptcies.

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<p>On Friday, May 20, aboriginal groups in Canada announced that they have the ability to block Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed oil pipelines because they run through lands where the aboriginal groups have proven title. These comments were in response to Trudeau’s statement that no community can veto the pipelines. Trudeau told Reuters that the government could approve pipeline projects that connect Canadian oil with the market without unanimous consent.

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<p>The French government on May 21 added a provision to a broad energy and environment bill that would&nbsp;manage food waste from supermarkets.&nbsp;The provision would require the country's largest supermarkets to enter into contracts to donate unsold but edible food to charities or to farms for animal feed and compost by July 2016. Penalties for failing to comply include fines upward of $80,000 and the possibility of jail time for managers.

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<p>Indonesia's Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry scuttled 41 illegal foreign fishing boats on May 20 as part of an ongoing effort by President Joko Widodo's administration to curb illegal fishing, which is considered rampant in the region. The government has now sunk 60 vessels that were seized on charges of illegal or unreported fishing.

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<p>Japan entered into a contribution agreement with the United Nation's Green Climate Fund on May 21, pushing the fund past the halfway mark needed for it to go into effect. Though Japan's agreement came nearly a month after the deadline, the country's $1.5 billion pledge brought the fund's total to $5.47 billion, well over the dollar amount necessary for the fund to start allocating resources to projects. The fund plans to approve the first round of projects in November 2015.

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<p>The New Zealand Court of Appeal rejected a South Pacific Islander’s request for asylum as a “climate change refugee.” Ioane Teitiota is from Kiribati, a chain of low-lying islands that are seriously threatened by sea-level rise, and had made his appeal on the grounds that he and his family would face serious harm from climate change if forced to return home.

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<p>Last week, the Greek government froze plans to allow development of Greece’s coastline. The proposed bill, which would simplify building permits and allow substantial commercial construction on the country’s beaches, was met with strong opposition from the public; on May 13, the Ministry of Environment received a petition signed by over 110,000 people demanding that the legislation be shelved, and thousands have turned to social media to voice their dissent.

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<p>Resources company Metgasco has had its exploration license suspended in response to complaints that the company did not adequately consult with the local community. Activists near Lismore, Australia, in New South Wales report that the majority of the region’s residents opposed plans for test drilling in the area and were worried about the potential impact on the water supply.

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<p>Experts determined that a nuclear reactor on the west coast of Japan is located on ground at high risk of an earthquake, beginning a process that will likely end with the first permanent shutdown following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Closing the reactor would be the most stringent measure yet adopted, though the industry currently only has two out of 50 reactors running as it awaits safety checks from the new regulator. The possible permanent closing of the reactor may signal a change in the way Japan deals with its nuclear industry.

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<p>Experts determined that a nuclear reactor on the west coast of Japan is located on ground at high risk of an earthquake, beginning a process that will likely end with the first permanent shutdown following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Closing the reactor would be the most stringent measure yet adopted, though the industry currently only has two out of 50 reactors running as it awaits safety checks from the new regulator. The possible permanent closing of the reactor may signal a change in the way Japan deals with its nuclear industry.

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<p>China is prepared to set anti-dumping duties on polysilicon, a raw material used in the production of solar panels, after determining it was being sold below cost, according to two sources. The Ministry of Commerce has completed probes determining the United States and European Union are subsidizing producers, but said that it would hold off on setting duties until the EU issues its own anti-dumping duties against China.

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<p>China is prepared to set anti-dumping duties on polysilicon, a raw material used in the production of solar panels, after determining it was being sold below cost, according to two sources. The Ministry of Commerce has completed probes determining the United States and European Union are subsidizing producers, but said that it would hold off on setting duties until the EU issues its own anti-dumping duties against China.

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<p>European fisheries ministers agreed to a plan aimed at tackling overfishing last week, but the deal disappointed environmental campaigners by failing to agree on an outright ban on the practice of discarding healthy fish at sea. Ministers agreed to end discards, but the ban will be phased in from 2015 rather than this year, and fleets will still be allowed to discard up to five percent of their catch, as ministers argued some inadvertent catch was unavoidable. Some member states pushed for an allowable discard rate up to ten percent, while Sweden pushed for a zero discard rate.

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<p>China's state council will likely hold a meeting before the end of June to approve plans for the nuclear industry, according to Xu Yuming, the vice secretary general of the China Nuclear Energy Association. The nation is currently building at least 27 reactors and has 50 more planned, according to the China Nuclear Energy Association.

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<p>China's state council will likely hold a meeting before the end of June to approve plans for the nuclear industry, according to Xu Yuming, the vice secretary general of the China Nuclear Energy Association. The nation is currently building at least 27 reactors and has 50 more planned, according to the China Nuclear Energy Association.

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<p>China's state council will likely hold a meeting before the end of June to approve plans for the nuclear industry, according to Xu Yuming, the vice secretary general of the China Nuclear Energy Association. The nation is currently building at least 27 reactors and has 50 more planned, according to the China Nuclear Energy Association.

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<p>European fisheries observers on Portuguese and Spanish ships have been intimidated by crews, according to an investigation by the Guardian. There are independent observers on board every fishing vessel operating in the Northwest Atlantic Fishery Organisation, monitoring compliance with quotas for five months at a time. More than 20 current and former observers said they had been put under surveillance, deprived of sleep, had their official documentation stolen, and been threatened with being thrown overboard to hide overfishing.

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<p>European fisheries observers on Portuguese and Spanish ships have been intimidated by crews, according to an investigation by the Guardian. There are independent observers on board every fishing vessel operating in the Northwest Atlantic Fishery Organisation, monitoring compliance with quotas for five months at a time. More than 20 current and former observers said they had been put under surveillance, deprived of sleep, had their official documentation stolen, and been threatened with being thrown overboard to hide overfishing.

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<p>European fisheries observers on Portuguese and Spanish ships have been intimidated by crews, according to an investigation by the Guardian. There are independent observers on board every fishing vessel operating in the Northwest Atlantic Fishery Organisation, monitoring compliance with quotas for five months at a time. More than 20 current and former observers said they had been put under surveillance, deprived of sleep, had their official documentation stolen, and been threatened with being thrown overboard to hide overfishing.

<p>The UK government's climate advisors warned last week that funding cuts to local authorities are putting carbon targets at risk. According to a report released by the Committee, austerity measures have badly affected the climate efforts of local authorities, which have the potential to significantly impact the UK's emissions. Committee member Julia King said that the government needs to strengthen incentives by providing national funding.

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<p><span>Norway may buy European carbon permits and retire them to achieve its promised cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said last week. "<span>The only way that Norway could achieve what it wants to achieve and overcome its membership of the [European Union emissions trading scheme] is to go into the market, buy permits and cancel them</span>," said Simon Upton, head of the OECD environment directorate.

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<p>In a financial deal with Norway, Indonesia has agreed to set a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear primary forests and peatlands. The deal, which took effect Friday, will protect 158 million acres of trees from logging and conversion into plantations. As part of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program, Norway will pay a fixed sum per ton of CO2 emissions Indonesia prevents through forest protection. The agreement could yield up to $1 billion. However, the agreement allegedly fell short of some projections.

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<p>The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the nation's environmental agency, announced a "zero deforestation policy" last Wednesday in response to growing deforestation. Satellite images recently released by Brazil's space research institute suggest that deforestation from March to April 2011 increased sixfold over the same period last year. Last December, a study indicated that deforestation in Brazil was at its lowest level in 22 years. However, the recently released data shows a 27 percent spike.