Current International Update
International developments reported in the current issue of ELR's Weekly Update appear below. For previously reported international news, please use the filter function on the left. For older material reported between 2000 and 2010, visit the Weekly Update Archives.
Volume 45, Issue 21
In a continuation of the international conflict regarding territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the Philippines brought an action against China for damaging the region's ecology, in part by dredging the seafloor and constructing artificial islands. Arguing in front of a tribunal of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Philippines alleged that China has encroached on its exclusive economic zone, allowed endangered species to be harvested, and destroyed reefs.
The five nation-members of the Arctic Council (Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States) agreed to prohibit their commercial fishing fleets from accessing the central Arctic Ocean. The accord, signed in Oslo on July 16, is a preemptive move designed to prevent degradation to fish stocks expected to migrate into the area as rising temperatures keep more of the region ice-free. The Arctic Council has also asked other nations with large fishing fleets, such as China, Vietnam, and much of the European Union, to agree to keep the area off-limits.
Draft regulations released by the United Kingdom's Department of Energy and Climate Change surprised observers by allowing hydraulic fracturing activities in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and under protected groundwater sources. The regulations, presented to Parliament on July 16, contradict statements made in January, when Energy Secretary Amber Rudd told legislators that a fracking ban in SSSIs and national parks had been agreed to. The draft regulations would also allow fracking companies to operate adjacent to national parks and drill horizontally under them.