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International Update Volume 41, Issue 23

AUSTRALIA'S GILLARD SIGNS FOREST DEAL

Australia

The Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement has sparked new hostilities and caused one timber group to back out as some claimed that the deal was fundamentally altered in the 11th hour before Prime Minister Julia Gillard signed it August 7. The deal includes provisions for compensation to forest companies whose contracts cannot be met outside of the new 430,000 hectares of protected land; industry representatives said that they had believed they could log the forests if their contracts required it.

CHINESE DAM ON IRRAWADDY MAY REIGNITE CONFLICT

China

Myanmar's pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week called for a halt to construction of China's hydropower project on the Irrawaddy, an important river threatened by logging, pollution, and the construction of at least seven dams. Suu Kyi warned that the project would destroy the environment along the 1,300 mile river, flooding the rainforest with a reservoir the size of New York and displacing 10,000 people.

CANADIAN RENEWABLE ENERGY EQUIPMENT POLICIES INVITE WTO CHALLENGE

Canada

The European Union (EU) followed Japan in lodging a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over subsidies that favor producers using domestic technology. Ontario's Green Energy Act allows the province's feed-in tariff program to pay above-market rates to renewable energy produced with a certain percentage of Canadian equipment. "This is in clear breach of the WTO rules that prohibit linking subsidies to the use of domestic products," said the European Commission in a statement.