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International Update Volume 44, Issue 18

GERMANY UPS GREEN ENERGY SURCHARGE TO MEET EU RULES

Germany

In an effort to meet EU rules, Germany has drafted legislation that would raise the surcharge paid by German industrial companies that produce their own electricity. The legislation seeks to address objections the European Commission made to an initial draft of Germany’s renewable energy bill. The Commission had requested that Germany treat households and industry equally, rather than granting heavy industry discounts or exemptions from the surcharge.

UN REJECTS BID TO STRIP TASMANIAN FOREST'S WORLD HERITAGE STATUS

Australia

The United Nations has rejected a bid by the Australian government to delist 74,000 hectares of forest from Tasmania’s World Heritage Area. The area in question is part of the 170,000 hectares of forest that had been added to the World Heritage Area in 2013 by the former federal and state Labor governments as part of a deal between the forest industry and green groups. According to Australia’s Abbott government, the area they proposed to delist was not worthy of World Heritage status, as it had been damaged by prior logging.

SPANISH SUPREME COURT OPENS DOOR FOR DRILLING IN CANARY ISLANDS

Spain

Last week, the Spanish Supreme Court rejected environmental appeals against oil drilling off the Canary Islands. Spain had granted exploration permits in the region in 2012, but they were put in hold due to environmental concerns. Now, the Supreme Court has opened the door for businesses such as Spanish oil company Repsol to move forward with exploration plans. The court’s decision angered islanders—who are concerned about the potential impacts on tourism—as well as environmentalists, who fear damage to the Canary Islands’ unique ecosystems.