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International Update Volume 41, Issue 4

BRAZIL OIL GIANT TO BEGIN CARBON SEQUESTRATION

Brazil

The Brazilian state oil company Petrobras will soon begin the process of carbon sequestration in its Lula oil fields to reduce the environmental impact of its deep water exploration. The oil fields, in the region known as the subsalt, contain large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) that will now be re-injected into oil reservoirs or sub-sea salt caverns rather than released into the atmosphere. "CO2 re-injection is common in the industry, but it is not common offshore and certainly not at this depth and pressure," said Petrobras engineer Rivadavia Freitas.

RARE EARTH MATERIALS TO BE RECYCLED IN EUROPE

China, EU, Mongolia

The European Commission is developing a strategy to simultaneously recycle and assist countries in Africa in sustainably mining rare earth materials, partially in response to a reduction in export quotas by China, provider of 97% of the world's supply. China issued an outright ban on rare earth exports to Japan in a dispute over fishing rights last year, and a few weeks ago Caijing magazine reported that China would begin stockpiling materials.

AUSTRALIAN DISASTERS MAY LEAD TO CHANGE IN CLIMATE POLICIES

Australia

Ross Garnaut, an architect of Australia's stalled climate change policy, has called for increased efforts to halt climate change in response to a recent spate of natural disasters linked to climate change. Garnaut said that recent disasters, like last month's devastating flooding and last week's Cyclone Yasi, were examples of extreme weather events likely to increase if global warming goes unchecked. "If we are seeing an intensification of extreme weather events now, you ain't seen nothing yet," said Garnaut.