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International Update Volume 41, Issue 10

OILSANDS CAUSE CONFLICT IN CANADIAN ELECTIONS

Canada

Oilsands projects and their subsidies have become a contentious issue in the Canadian federal elections, as the New Democratic Party's Jack Layton vowed to eliminate C$2 billion in oil and gas subsidies and use the money instead for renewable energy. The party has also proposed a moratorium on new oilsands projects pending efforts to manage their environmental impacts.

HYDROPOWER LAND ACQUISITION SPARKS LOCAL CHINESE PROTESTS

China

Five days of mass protests around the upper Yangtze River failed to stop China Three Gorges' planned Xiangjiaba hydropower project last week, and the corporation's website still lists June 2012 as the expected start date of electricity generation. Some 2,000 villagers blocked a main road and a bridge over the Yangtze and hurled bricks and stones at police to protest the valuation of the forcible land acquisition for the 40,000 people who are being displaced to make way for the dam, joining green groups that have long opposed the project.

UN RELEASES REPORT ON URBANIZATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE

A United Nations study released last week found that a "deadly collision between climate change and urbanization" will take place unless effective urban planning measures can deliver energy and emissions savings. According to the study, an estimated 59 percent of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2030, and cities tend to be energy intensive. The report warned that towns and cities are vulnerable to serious consequences of increased emissions, including increased frequency of heat waves, downpours, and droughts, and increased sea level in some areas of the world.