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International Update Volume 44, Issue 22

GIANT COAL MINE APPROVED FOR QUEENSLAND

Australia

The Australian government has approved plans for a giant coal mine in Queensland. According to the government, the mine could generate as much as $300 billion, with a resource value of $60 billion per year over 60 years. In response to environmental concerns, Environment Minister Greg Hunt emphasized that the mine was approved under very strict terms, including 36 federal and 190 state conditions and offsets of about 30,000 hectares for destroyed habitats.

UK CUTS SPENDING ON CLIMATE DIPLOMACY

United Kingdom

A recent Freedom of Information request by Responding to Climate Change revealed that the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has significantly cut its climate and diplomacy budget over the past three years. Figures show that between 2011-12 and 2013-14, spending on activity related to climate change, the low carbon economy, and energy security fell by 28%, while the budget for FCO’s climate change and energy department, special representative for climate change, and overseas missions was cut by 39%.

IMF URGES HIGHER ENERGY TAXES TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), energy taxes in most of the world are much lower than they should be to reflect the detrimental environmental and health impacts of fossil fuel use. In a new book released last week, the IMF laid out what it sees as appropriate taxes on coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel for 156 countries. The publication takes into account the fuels’ overall costs, including carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, congestion, and traffic accidents.