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International Update Volume 42, Issue 19

GERMANY APPROVES CARBON CAPTURE PLAN

Germany

Germany's parliamentary mediation committee approved allowing carbon capture and storage on a test basis last week after a compromise that reduces the scope of the original proposal. Though the technology is costly, the method is seen by some as vital to help power plants meet legally binding climate targets. Many citizen groups have opposed the proposal over fears that carbon dioxide emissions, which can be fatal in high concentrations, may leak and rise to the surface.

ECUADOR PLAINTIFFS SUE CHEVRON IN BRAZIL COURTS

Brazil, Canada, Ecuador

Plaintiffs in the Ecuadorian case against Chevron have filed a lawsuit in Brazil, seeking to enforce an $18 billion court ruling against the oil giant. The initial case concerned pollution from Texaco, which was later acquired by Chevron, in the 1970s and 1980s, when the company, working with Ecuador's state-owned oil company, dumped drilling waste into unlined pits that is alleged to have caused illnesses among indigenous people. The plaintiffs sought a judgment that would force Chevron to pay both the cost of cleanup and damages to injured groups.

UK'S PLANS TO DELAY AIR IMPROVEMENTS DENIED

EU, United Kingdom

The European Commission refused the United Kingdom's plans to delay air quality improvements in 12 major cities last week, and the government may be forced to ban or fine heavily polluting traffic. The cities will likely have to introduce low-emission zones to curb nitrogen dioxide emissions, which, in addition to particulate matter, are recognized by the government as the second biggest public health threat after smoking. Air pollution reduces U.K. life expectancy by up to eight months, according to government statistics, and costs the country over $30 billion a year.