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 47, Issue 5
In 2010, a mud spill full of toxic sludge from an alumina reservoir overran three towns, polluted waterways, and killed ten in what is recognized as one of Hungary’s worst environmental disasters. In 2016, a court in the town of Veszprem acquitted MAL Corp, the aluminum smelting company that owned the reservoir, ruling that the company’s executives had not been criminally negligent. Prosecutors claimed the court had drawn false conclusions.
In response to increasing incidents of heavy smog, China has vowed to further accelerate its move away from coal, committing to reduce coal consumption an additional 30% in 2017 (compared to its original plan for 2017). The new plan will bring Beijing’s coal use to fewer than 7 million metric tons by next January. In addition, the government plans to have zero coal use in six districts by the end of the year, and Beijing plans to remove 300,000 fuel-inefficient vehicles from use this year in order to promote more fuel-efficient cars and improve fuel standards.
In an effort to prevent another Volkswagen-like tailpipe emissions scandal, the European Union has announced that it will take legal action against member governments that have failed to police vehicle emissions testing. One core problem is that national regulators who inspect domestically made cars sometimes certify cars that do not meet standards. Another is that only the producing country can issue a recall, even though the vehicles can be sold throughout the EU.