International Update Volume all, Issue 32
Country:

<p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>COP26 is underway in Glasgow, including a major agreement to end deforestation by 2030, among other initiatives (</span><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-59088498"><span>BBC</span>…;).

Country:

<p>On October 28, in an address to the National Assembly, South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced that South Korea will be carbon-neutral by 2050. The announcement comes just two days after Japan’s declaration of the same goal and just over a month following China’s promise to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 (<a href="https://www.ft.com/content/185e5043-fd72-4fef-a05c-f2a5001c7f4b">Financ… Times</a>).</p>

Country:

<p>New Delhi, India, is facing its worst air pollution crisis in three years, prompting authorities to shut down schools and delay over 30 flights due to poor visibility. On November 1, New Delhi officials declared a public health emergency, halting construction projects, closing several thousand primary schools until November 5, and distributing five million face masks to schoolchildren.

Country:

<p>On November 6, a federal court in Brazil upheld a decision by a state court that forced the world's largest alumina refinery to run at half capacity. Norsk Hydro, the owner of the refinery, was ordered to slash output by half after admitting to making unlicensed emissions of untreated water during heavy rains in February. The court also upheld a ban on the company's use of a second waste deposit area near the plant.

Country:

<p>On November 7, Germany's Environment Minister, Svenja Schulze, announced she would soon present a draft climate protection law that would assign all sectors specific targets for reducing their carbon dioxide emissions. Under the new law, fossil fuel use would become more expensive for transport or buildings while electricity would become cheaper.

Country:

<p>The Ile-de-France region has plans to launch a large fleet of electric bicycles in a state-funded scheme that is aimed at encouraging bicycle commuting to reduce congestion and pollution. Under the scheme, a regional transport agency will provide up to 10,000 electric bicycles for long-term rental in the region with the hope of expanding the fleet to 20,000 bicycles. The bicycles will remain with the users, who can rent them for 40 euros a month, half of which can be subsidized by their employers.

Country:

<p>Three straight days of smog enveloped New Delhi, forcing schools to shut down and forcing residents to buy air purifiers. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the capital a "gas chamber" as his government sought meetings with adjoining states to address the issue. Fine particulate matter levels were particularly dangerous, rising to 726 with a level above 300 considered hazardous.

Country:

<p>Italy has set a goal to phase out coal power plant production by 2025 as it seeks to reduce its carbon footprint. Italy's plan is to have green energy sources account for 28 percent of overall energy consumption by 2030. Italy is also aiming to introduce more electric and hybrid vehicles. However, natural gas will continue to have a key role in the country’s energy future as the government will promote new gas import pipelines to diversify supply.

Country:

<p>At the Bonn Conference of the Parties, Fiji turned a tiny part of Germany into a tropical island as it leads global negotiations on climate change. Average sea levels in Fiji have risen 10 inches since the late 19th century, driven partly by melting ice and endangering life on the island. Fiji is the first small island state to preside at U.N. climate negotiations since they began in the 1990s. Fiji outfitted a conference centre with canoes, dancers, huge photographs of palm-fringed islands, virtual reality shows and flowers.

Country:

<p>Last week Australia’s government ratified the Paris Agreement, becoming the 105th country to commit to reducing global carbon emissions. Australia, the world’s 13th largest economy representing 1.46% of global emissions, intends to reduce emissions 26-28% from a 2005 baseline by 2030. The Australian Parliament was unable to ratify the Agreement in advance of it going into force as it was unable to start deliberations until after federal elections in July of this year.

Country:

<p>On October 20, an Indonesian court overturned a lower court's earlier ruling that developer PT Muara Wisesa Samudra must halt land reclamation activities in Jakarta Bay. In 2014, the development company was granted a permit to construct 17 artificial islands in the North Jakarta coast to reduce pollution and create new lands for housing developments in the densely populated city.

Country:

<p>Last week, the HCS Convergence Working Group, a coalition of palm oil companies and environmental non-profits, agreed upon a single set of rules for companies to use when implementing their commitments to address deforestation. HCS, which stands for High Carbon Stock, is a measure of how natural, or robust, forest growth is on a plot of land (it excludes mostly young re-growth forest and recently cleared land).

Country:

<p>The President of Indonesia banned the clearance and conversion of carbon-dense peatlands in Indonesia, including in existing concession areas. Additionally, the government has required the blockage of peat drainage canals through a series of instructions given over the course of the past few weeks in hopes of raising water tables. This decision comes in face of the recent fires that have sent approximately 500,000 people to the hospital, polluted the skies in Indonesia and neighboring countries, and released close to 1.7 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

Country:

<p>On November 8, 2015, the Peruvian government declared the creation of the world’s newest national park: Sierra del Divisor. The creation of this national forest, which&nbsp;spans 1.3 million hectares (5,470 square miles), has been a struggle for local communities, scientists, and conservation groups for nearly a decade. The park is situated in eastern Peru along the Brazilian border. It is larger than Yellowstone National Park in the Northern United States and four times the size of California’s Yosemite National Park.

Country:

<p>On November 4, 2015, the Indian Government canceled Greenpeace India’s registration after it determined that Greenpeace India had been “fraudulently” conducting business, falsifying balance sheets, and violating the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act of 1975. The order was passed down without a hearing, and Greenpeace India announced that it planned to challenge the cancellation in court. This follows a year during which Greenpeace India and the Indian government have continually been at odds with one another.

Country:

<p>South Africa’s Department for Water and Sanitation announced that funding for a program to clean up toxic water contamination from abandoned mines in and around Johannesburg was recently secured between the Department and the National Treasury. The contamination, or acid-mine drainage, occurs from the flooding of abandoned mine shafts. As the water drains through the mines it is contaminated with toxic metals before returning to rivers and streams.

Country:

<p>Researchers for the Climate Action Tracker say that the deal to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions reached between the United States and China—the world’s two largest emitters—on Wednesday, November 12, brings the world closer to limiting rising temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. This level is the&nbsp;Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change target for avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Under the deal, the United States has pledged to reduce emissions to about 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, doubling the current pace of emissions reductions.

Country:

<p>Researchers for the Climate Action Tracker say that the deal to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions reached between the United States and China—the world’s two largest emitters—on Wednesday, November 12, brings the world closer to limiting rising temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. This level is the&nbsp;Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change target for avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Under the deal, the United States has pledged to reduce emissions to about 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, doubling the current pace of emissions reductions.

Country:

<p>Data released by transmission grid firms on Friday, November 14, show that Germany’s energy capacity from renewable sources will increase by 23% between 2015 and 2019; however, related costs will also rise by over a fifth. The calculations are required in annual data from four transmission system operators to help gauge the cost of renewable energy subsidies, which are passed on to consumers as a surcharge on energy bills.

Country:

<p>A Brazilian call for a climate equity metric faces significant opposition from the U.S. and the European Union. At the Warsaw Climate Change Conference—which began on November 11th and will last for two weeks—Brazil proposed a program whereby nations would calculate their total output of greenhouse gases since 1850 in order to determine their responsibility for climate change.

Country:

<p>Last Thursday, the Brazilian government released figures showing that deforestation in the Amazon increased by 28 percent between August 2012 and last July. Over the past decade, the country has made progress against the destruction of the rainforest, and in 2009 the government committed to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80 percent by 2020. Last year, Brazil saw the lowest rate of deforestation since monitoring began, but the newly released figures cause activists to fear that that trend might have reversed.

Country:

<p>In a move that could hinder efforts to reach an agreement at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference, Japan has significantly dialed back its greenhouse gas emissions goals. On Friday, the Cabinet approved a target emission reduction of 3.8 percent from the 2005 level by 2020—as opposed to the earlier goal of a 25 percent reduction from the 1990 level. Japan has faced significant energy challenges since the 2011 Fukushima disaster resulted in the shutdown of all the country’s nuclear plants, which had previously provided about 30 percent of Japan's electricity.

Country:

<p>New Zealand will not commit to a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, according to Climate Change Minister Tim Groser. Groser announced that New Zealand will pledge under the United Nations Framework Convention along with nations responsible for 85% of the world's emissions. While the minister announced the country stands behind its existing Kyoto commitment, he said that the government had decided it was in "New Zealand’s best interests" to join China, Japan, the United States, and other heavy carbon polluters under the Framework.

Country:

<p>New Zealand will not commit to a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, according to Climate Change Minister Tim Groser. Groser announced that New Zealand will pledge under the United Nations Framework Convention along with nations responsible for 85% of the world's emissions. While the minister announced the country stands behind its existing Kyoto commitment, he said that the government had decided it was in "New Zealand’s best interests" to join China, Japan, the United States, and other heavy carbon polluters under the Framework.

Country:

<p>Norway's green energy and carbon emission reduction targets are at risk because of low electricity costs and an underfunded subsidy system, according to industry sources. Norway's ambitious plans to cut greenhouse emissions by 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 and to diversify power supplies are unlikely without increased subsidies, according to Andreas Aasheim, an advisor to Norway's wind energy association Norwea, who said that power prices would have to be around $100 per megawatt hour to fuel renewable energy growth.

Country:

<p>European politicians will renew their debate this week on raising the target for carbon emission cuts as the bloc plans for international climate change talks in Durban. Some politicians and campaigners have said that the minimum target should be a 30 percent reduction by 2020, but earlier this year Poland blocked an attempt to raise the goal to 25 percent. "Already we have a 17.6 percent reduction in 2012," said Jo Leinen, chairman of the European Parliament's environment committee.

Country:

<p>Four major Chinese airlines are set to jointly sue the European Union over its plans to charge carriers for carbon emissions, an official with the country's industry group announced last week. "There is no way the emission charge can be justified. It violates the basic principles of international law and infringes on other nations' sovereignty," said Cai Haibo, deputy secretary-general with China Air Transport Association. The Chinese suit would differ from one launched by U.S.

Country:

<p>A French court has fined energy company EDF 1.5 million euros ($2 million) and jailed two staff members for hiring a security firm to spy on Greenpeace campaigners during an effort to build nuclear reactors. The court also awarded Greenpeace 500,000 euros ($700,000) in damages. The campaign targeted one of the European Pressurized Water Reactors, which is being built on the Normandy coast and is similar to the ones that EDF hopes to bring to the United Kingdom.

Country:

<p>India and Canada finalized the terms of their nuclear deal, allowing Canadian firms to sell uranium to India. A 1976 ban on the trade of nuclear materials with India, enacted after the nation used Canadian nuclear technology to build its first atomic bomb in 1974, previously halted the trade of Canada's large uranium resources, but India won an exemption in 2008 from the Nuclear Suppliers Group to trade nuclear supplies and technology despite not signing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Country:

<p>India and Canada finalized the terms of their nuclear deal, allowing Canadian firms to sell uranium to India. A 1976 ban on the trade of nuclear materials with India, enacted after the nation used Canadian nuclear technology to build its first atomic bomb in 1974, previously halted the trade of Canada's large uranium resources, but India won an exemption in 2008 from the Nuclear Suppliers Group to trade nuclear supplies and technology despite not signing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Country:

<p>India and Canada finalized the terms of their nuclear deal, allowing Canadian firms to sell uranium to India. A 1976 ban on the trade of nuclear materials with India, enacted after the nation used Canadian nuclear technology to build its first atomic bomb in 1974, previously halted the trade of Canada's large uranium resources, but India won an exemption in 2008 from the Nuclear Suppliers Group to trade nuclear supplies and technology despite not signing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Country:

<p>India and Canada finalized the terms of their nuclear deal, allowing Canadian firms to sell uranium to India. A 1976 ban on the trade of nuclear materials with India, enacted after the nation used Canadian nuclear technology to build its first atomic bomb in 1974, previously halted the trade of Canada's large uranium resources, but India won an exemption in 2008 from the Nuclear Suppliers Group to trade nuclear supplies and technology despite not signing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.